Mervyns is closing four of its stores in Arizona, three of them in or near the East Valley.
Stores at 9109 E. Indian Bend Road in Scottsdale Pavilions, 4710 E. Ray Road, Phoenix, in Ahwatukee Foothills' Silvercreek Plaza, and 4643 E. Cactus Road, Phoenix, near Paradise Valley Mall, are among 26 "under-performing" Mervyns locations to get dumped by the California-based retailer, which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy and trying to reorganize. A south Phoenix store will also be shuttered.
The rest of the company's 10 Valley stores are safe, for now.
The targeted locations will close in October or November, the company said.
"While the decision to close this group of under-performing stores was not easy, we believe this is a necessary step in our process to emerge from bankruptcy as a stronger company, better positioned to compete in the retail industry," Mervyns CEO John Goodman said in a statement.
Mervyns said it will help displaced employees "make the transition as smooth as possible," and the company has hired a liquidator to stage clearance sales.
Mervyns is not the first national chain, and likely won't be the last, to take a big hit this year from the sour economy.
Longtime retailers Levitz, Sharper Image, Steve & Barry's and Linens 'n Things slipped into bankruptcy earlier this year. Ann Taylor, Zales Jewelers and Foot Locker started closing stores to avoid the same fate. Disney, which bought back its stores from The Children's Place, trimmed the number of locations.
Even the combination of stimulus checks and the back-to-school shopping season is proving to be disappointing.
Overall retail sales in July were just 2.6 percent higher than July 2007 sales for the country's biggest chains. And discount stores captured most of that meager increase.
"Although July captured some early back-to-school shopping, the month was dominated by clearance sales and discounts," said Michael Niemira, director of research for the International Council of Shopping Centers.