Lamonts Apparel Inc. is planning to close its University Village store in October when its lease expires and the shopping center begins renovation for a Barnes & Noble Book Store in the 105,000-square-foot building occupied by the clothing store.
"We've extended an offer to the landlord to renew the lease," but it wasn't accepted, said Brent Frerichs, Lamonts vice president of marketing. "We have no choice but to move on."
Barnes & Noble has announced plans to open a 44,000-square-foot store in the building in the summer of 1995.
The 24-acre center, near 25th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 45th Street, was purchased last year by QFC Chairman Stuart Sloan and former Egghead Software Chairman Matt Griffin.
"We decided not to renew Lamonts' lease and are working with several potential tenants," said Jocelyn Clements, center general manager. "We hope to announce some plans before the end of the year, but it won't be right away."
She declined to identify potential tenants.
Lamonts has 53 employees at University Village, where it has operated for 26 years. The store was a Rhodes Department Store before it was turned into a Lamonts when purchased by the late Lamont Bean.
Company officials said they will meet individually with each employee in the next month.
The chain has 10 stores in the Seattle-Bellevue area; the nearest to University Village is at Northgate.
"We hope there will be no layoffs," Frerichs said. "I can't stress enough that this isn't something we want to do. If there is any opportunity for us to stay, we want to do it."
The University Village store completed 250,000 sales transactions last year, about the same as at Northgate, he said.
Separately today, Lamonts reported lower sales and a loss of $236,000, or 3 cents per share, in the first quarter. The company blamed the sluggish local economy and lower markups to maintain competitive pricing. In the same period a year ago, Lamonts reported a profit of $1.05 million, or 11 cents per share.
Sales fell 2.6 percent, to $77.7 million from $79.8 million a year earlier. Sales at stores open more than a year fell 4 percent.
The chain operates 52 stores in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, the Mountain States and the Midwest.