By the time back-to-school shopping ends, Gottschalks will have shut down its 11th Washington store since 2000. Gottschalks, a department-store chain...

Share story

By the time back-to-school shopping ends, Gottschalks will have shut down its 11th Washington store since 2000.

Gottschalks, a department-store chain based in Fresno, Calif., announced last week the closure of its Factoria Mall store by the end of September because of poor financial performance.

The store has cleared out about a third of its inventory of clothing, accessories and shoes and boxed up its home-furnishing department.

Most shoppers at the mall were surprised to find the store was closing without plans to relocate.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Tina Matthews, who works at MasterCuts a few doors down, was dismayed, saying she shops at Gottschalks for its wide clothing selection.

“I hate that they’re going out of business,” the West Seattle resident said. “The prices are good.”

But others were ambivalent, saying they probably wouldn’t miss, or notice, the store’s departure.

Joan Sedlacek of Bellevue browsed through the sale racks yesterday. She said she doesn’t shop at Gottschalks more than twice a year because she found the clothes outdated for the prices.

When it comes to replacing Gottschalks, Sedlacek said there may be no need. “We’ve already got everything close by,” she said.

The mall’s managers would not comment on the closure. The mall’s owners, Kimco Realty, could not be reached.

Factoria Mall, at the crossroads of Interstates 405 and 90, is nearly 30 years old. Kimco, a publicly traded real-estate investment trust, bought the mall in December as business appeared to be on the upswing.

With Target, Mervyn’s, Petco and Old Navy as anchor tenants, In Spa, Jamba Juice and Goldberg’s Jewish Deli moved in during the past year. The KidsQuest Children’s Museum is under construction and set to open in December.

Dealing with competition from other retailers, Gottschalks tries to place stores in growing but nonmajor metropolitan or suburban areas in the Western United States, where it believes there is a strong demand and fewer competitors.

Gottschalks had 64 department stores in six Northwest states at the beginning of the year. In Washington, stores operate in Northgate, Tacoma, Marysville, Lakewood, Pierce County, Silverdale, Kitsap County, Puyallup, Port Angeles, Moses Lake, Yakima, Spokane and Walla Walla.

This summer, Kohl’s unveiled plans to enter the Puget Sound market with up to six of its midpriced department stores, beginning with Marysville and Covington.

Gottschalks said last week that it had lost $1.7 million during the first two quarters of this year. During a conference call with analysts, Gottschalks President and Chief Executive Jim Famalette said the company was increasing its focus on the home-furnishing department and will open a home-only lifestyle store in Pocatello, Idaho, this year.

In addition, the company, which traditionally caters to women in their 50s, said it will update its clothing line to appeal to a 20-to-35 crowd that “may not have always thought about the store as their first choice,” Famalette said.

Gottschalks moved into the spaces left empty by the bankrupt Lamonts chain five years ago. It shut down its Crossroads Shopping Center store because of sluggish sales six months ago. Two years prior to that, it closed five Washington stores and laid off about 120 employees.

Christina Siderius: 206-515-5066 or csiderius@seattletimes.com