We knew it was coming. After weeks of everything-must-go sales that turned its shopping floors into apocalyptic arrays of barren racks and shelves, the Macy's in downtown Seattle has finally closed. Yesterday marked the department store's final opening. Today, commuters passed window signs confirming the news and encouraging shoppers to visit the Bellevue Square location instead.
While Macy's joins a slew of downtown businesses that have shuttered recently, including the Barnes & Noble and J.Crew at Pacific Place, the store holds a different significance for Seattleites, even for those who were more apt to use its expansive downtown footprint as a retreat from the rain rather than as a destination for shopping binges. As Ryan Phelan's Explainer for the December edition of Seattle Met details, the former Bon Marché building has a 90-plus year history in retail and made the National Register of Historic Places in 2016. It's a veritable downtown pillar.
The closure comes amid widespread Macy's shutdowns across the country. About 125 stores are scheduled to close this year. In the Seattle store's case, the retailer doesn't have to look very far to find one of the culprits for its fading foot traffic. E-commerce giant Amazon leases six floors of the Macy's building. Ironically, Amazon continues to grow its brick-and-mortar presence as its street competition disappears, another strange reality in this new Seattle.