Another major national retailer falls on hard times

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Another major retailer has fallen on hard times in Chittenden County. Almost two years after losing Macy's just down road, the University Mall is now saying goodbye to Sears. Local shoppers say they'll just spend their money somewhere else.

"I don't shop Sears a lot. They don't have the sales and stuff that Kohl's has. So we shop mostly Kohl's and JC Penney's once in a while," said Paul Maynard of Burlington.

But for people who come from out of town, not being able to shop at their favorite department stores while visiting Burlington is upsetting.

"One of the things that I really appreciate about traveling is being able to go to a store that I know and know where to find things and the product. And when I found out they lost the Macy's here, I was disappointed. Apparently there's not a Macy's here for a couple hours away," said Linda Bessee, visiting from Texas.

There's also concern that holiday shopping won't be the same. "Part of the Christmas spirit was always going shopping and bringing my kids shopping and looking at the lights, looking at the Christmas decorations. Going and seeing the beautiful Christmas decorations in stores," said Bessee.

Department stores have been trying to keep up with online shopping giants like Amazon for years but it has proven to be a losing battle. There's currently only 182 sears stores still standing in the U.S. The UMall Sears is set to close in February. It remains to be seen how the loss will impact the mall - if at all.

"I still see a lot of people in the mall. The stores are still packed. The parking lots are packed," said Maynard.

But no matter what happens more younger people say they'll be doing their holiday shopping at home.

"It's nice to just be able to stay curled up in a Snuggie and push some buttons and have your stuff show up at your doorstep. That's awesome," said Trey Michael, who prefers online shopping.

Despite major retail losses, the area is also making retail gains. An REI location is opening up in Williston next weekend.