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Roses closes its Chapel Hill store

After forty years, Roses at University Mall is closing in June.
After forty years, Roses at University Mall is closing in June.

The store is set to close before the end of June , though an exact date has not been announced yet.

Roses, a discount store, was the fourth largest store at University Mall, right behind the space formerly occupied by Dillard’s, Harris Teeter and Southern Season.

Wilson Sawyer, chief operating officer of Variety Wholesalers, Inc. , Roses’ parent company, said the main reason for closing is the huge increase in rent demanded by University Mall.

“We thought we had a deal with them, and the deal fell through,” Sawyer said. “The original lease ran out a year ago at the end of 2012.”

Sawyer said University Mall increased the rent after the original lease ended, arguing that Roses was not profitable enough. On Feb. 1, Sawyer said the mall cancelled the lease.

He said University Mall asked for the store to shrink, which also contributed to the store’s decision to close.

“They wanted to downsize the store or cancel the lease,” Sawyer said.

Robyn Marano, vice president of marketing for Madison Marquette, the owning company of University Mall , declined to comment on whether the mall upped Roses’ rent or asking the store to downsize.

Marano said a possible replacement for Roses cannot be disclosed at the time, but they are prepared to make an announcement in the coming months.

“Roses has been a valued tenant at our shopping center for over 40 years and we wish them the best,” Marano said.

Currently, 60 percent of the space occupied by Roses is already rented by other companies, Sawyer said.

About 40 workers are employed at this location, but there are no plans to let them go, Sawyer said. Instead, he said they will be able to find jobs at other locations, like the two Roses locations in Durham.

“There are great people who worked there for a lot of years,” Sawyer said.

There have been many new additions to University Mall in the last year, including a Silverspot Cinema, a luxury movie theater which is replacing Dillard’s.

Other new attractions include Tacos and Tequila , Fine Feathers, Peacock Alley Gifts and Kidzu Children’s Museum, with the latter three moving from University Square, which is set to be demolished on Franklin Street later this year .

“2014 is an exciting transitional year for University Mall,” Marano said.

The University Mall fact sheet by Madison Marquette lists the average household income of the surrounding 3-mile area as $91,750 .

The new stores in University Mall, which are not discount stores, take up fewer square feet than Roses did.

The manager of the University Mall Roses declined to comment for this story.

Sawyer said he is concerned there are no other discount stores in Chapel Hill. There are no current plans to open another Roses in Chapel Hill.

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“We appreciate our loyal shoppers,” Sawyer said.