Macy’s Closing in Ballston, Laying Off Staff Locally

Macy’s Closing in Ballston, Laying Off Staff Locally

Arlington store is one of five closing nationwide.

Ballston Quarter has a parking garage and nearby Metro station.

Ballston Quarter has a parking garage and nearby Metro station.

The Ballston Quarter shopping area in Arlington is about to lose a big player retail store when Macy's closes as part of a nationwide strategy by Macy's. In the big picture, it’s another blow to the retail industry.

Macy’s is laying off about 3.5% of its total headcount, which amounts to roughly 2,350 employees, and the iconic department store is closing five locations “to deploy a new strategy to meet the needs of an ever changing consumer and marketplace,” they said.

The five stores to be closed are the Ballston store; plus others in San Leandro, California; Lihue, Hawaii; Simi Valley, California; and Tallahassee, Florida, according to a spokesperson for Macy’s Inc. The layoffs were scheduled for Jan. 26, Macy’s said.

The Macy’s in Ballston Quarter is listed by the shopping center as their “anchor store,” and the only department store, but officials familiar with the closing have plans in place for the space.

According to Marc McCauley, Director of Arlington Economic Development’s Real Estate Development Group, it was long anticipated that the Macys would be closing this year. 

"Last year the site was approved for a redevelopment of 556 residential units and a ground floor grocer that will create a new anchor to the Ballston Quarter project,” he said. Construction on the new project will begin late summer or early fall of this year, McCauley added.

As with other retail changes in this area, it started with the pandemic a few years ago. Macy’s made significant job cuts in the pandemic’s early days. In February 2020, just weeks before the virus was declared a pandemic, the company announced 2,000 job cuts in its corporate office and the closure of 125 stores, Macy's said. In June 2020, Macy’s laid off 3,900 corporate staffers as COVID-19 took a toll on sales, they said. 

Chamber Chatter

Since the winter of 2022, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce worked with Arlington Economic Development during the pandemic to assist the businesses affected by COVID-related shutdowns and other restrictions. They issued two rounds of emergency grant funding for Arlington small business community and worked with businesses as part of the ReLaunch initiative, the Chamber said. They hosted webinars to help businesses navigate pandemic changes and learn about best practices and worked with other County departments to help initiate the TOSA (Temporary Outdoor Seating Area) program to help restaurants handle capacity restrictions. That helped in Arlington during the warmer months.

Over at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the economic numbers were picking up in late 2023 but many places are reporting a shortage of workers which may add to business closings across the country. 

"The economy is likely to slow in early 2024 because consumer spending is likely to slow," the chamber said. They predict that will weaken spending and growth, which could trickle down to the retail market.

In December, consumers kept spending at a strong pace, the chamber reported. Retail sales rose 0.6% in December, double the 0.3% increase in November and that could have been attributed partly to the holiday spending season.