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ShopKo closing Eugene store.

Byline: Joe Mosley The Register-Guard

ShopKo, which was on the leading edge of a Eugene-Springfield retail boom more than 15 years ago, will close one of its two Eugene stores in early 2007, a company spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.

The Green Bay, Wis.-based chain, which operates 135 discount department stores in 13 states, will close two stores in Peoria, Ill., along with the store at Bailey Hill Road and West 11th Avenue in Eugene.

Pam Schwante, a spokeswoman at ShopKo's executive offices in Green Bay, said the decision to close the Eugene outlet was based on the store's recent performance and other "economic considerations."

"Generally, that just means sales are not good," Schwante said. "But it could be due to other changes in the retail market in that area."

ShopKo's north Eugene store, at 2815 Chad Drive, is not currently in danger of being closed.

"For now, that one is doing fine," Schwante said. "We view our stores on a regular basis to see how they're doing and what's happening in those markets."

Closure of the store at 955 Bailey Hill Road - adjacent to a Safeway supermarket - will displace about 50 full-time employees.

Schwante said each "teammate" at the store will be offered a position at another ShopKo or will be eligible for severance pay.

Oregon's only other ShopKo locations are in Bend and Salem.

Schwante said the Bailey Hill store "will continue to operate through the holiday season, and most likely will close sometime in early 2007."

ShopKo opened both of its Eugene stores in September 1989, about a month before Target opened its first local outlet at Springfield's Gateway Mall and two months before Costco opened its discount warehouse across Chad Drive from ShopKo.

Each of the local ShopKo stores offers about 101,000 square feet of floor space and feature a variety of merchandise: toys, clothing, sporting goods, automotive supplies, drugs, furniture, housewares, jewelry and more.

Rumors have been circulating that GI Joe's, the Portland-based chain of sporting goods stores, may be poised to move into the soon-to-be-vacated ShopKo location.

But Schwante said she knows of no potential deals for the building, which Lane County property records indicate has a market value of almost $16 million.

And GI Joe's spokeswoman Shannon Burley said the chain will not move from the Delta Oaks Shopping Center on Green Acres Road, where it has been for more than 25 years.

"We are not moving into that (ShopKo) building, nor are we considering it," Burley said.

"The (Delta Oaks) store is one of the most successful, if not the most successful, in our chain. So we love our Eugene friends."

GI Joe's chief executive Norm Daniels said earlier this year that Wal-Mart is seeking to expand its nearby store, and that GI Joe's would consider relocating to another storefront in the Delta Oaks area.

He said the current, 55,000-square-foot store is somewhat small and has begun to show its age.

Burley said Tuesday that the store's fate has not yet been determined, but GI Joe's will remain at the shopping center and plans to upgrade its facilities.

"We are going to do a full-blown remodel of that location, but we're not sure yet what the terms of that will be," she said.
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Title Annotation:Business; The West 11th store will operate through the holidays; there are no plans to close a store on Chad Drive
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 15, 2006
Words:542
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