By Jano Tantongco
A pair of major chains – Sports Authority and King Kullen – have announced plans to close their respective Commack stores that are located in the same 120 Veterans Memorial Highway shopping center.
King Kullen, which occupies a 60,216-square-foot space, is expected to close in 2019 and be replaced by a Whole Foods supermarket, according to Michael Sinatra, a Whole Foods spokesman.
Just 45,000 square feet of the King Kullen space will be occupied by Whole Foods once it moves in, Sinatra said Monday, adding that building owner Kimco Realty is aiming to add additional retailers to the building.
“We’ve long looked to expand our footprint on Long Island. [We’ve] heard from Long Island residents for years they want a store closer to home,” Sinatra said. The planned store would be the supermarket chain’s second in Suffolk and fourth on Long Island.
As for Sports Authority, it is expected to close at least several of its Long Island stores as part of bankruptcy proceedings, including a Commack store that’s located in the same shopping center as King Kullen.
According to court filings, however, the 42,970-square-foot Commack store is one of several locations that were classified as not subject to a closing store lease auction so it will be put up for a competitive bidding process during a May 16 auction in Delaware.
Last week, a worker at the store said he was told that the Commack store is slated to close in June.
In a statement, Michael Foss, Sports Authority CEO, attributed the closures to “the changing retail environment.”
“We have a long-term plan to streamline and strengthen our business so we can continue to make necessary investments in our operations, including upgrading our in store experience and enhancing our website,” he added. “As part of that plan, we have identified approximately 140 stores that we intend to close or sell in the coming months.”
Representatives from Sports Authority, King Kullen and Kimco did not respond to requests for comment before deadline Monday.