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Chico Mall looks to redefine former Sears space to attract Millennials

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CHICO, Calif. - The Chico Mall said it has interest from several businesses to fill the 85,000 square foot building that had been occupied by Sears until the retailer left in September.

Plans are in the works to bring several businesses into the space that would appeal to millennials.

"[Millennials] are much more focused on experiences and lifestyle as opposed to just going in and buying clothing," said Natasha Shelton, the general manager of the Chico Mall, which is located on East 20th Street.

Shelton sees the Sears exodus as an opportunity to remake that eastern portion of the mall into a lifestyle destination.

"We're really focusing on family entertainment that might provide games and a restaurant experience at the same time," she said, saying that this could lead to an overflow of foot traffic into the mall's other shops.

Currently, the mall has three anchor stores that support the mall's smaller stores. Dick's, Forever 21 and JCPenney, which now sells major appliances that Sears once carried.

"So some of the customers that used to go to Sears can now come to JCPenney for the same item," said Jason Schmidt, JCPenney's general manager.

Shelton said the Chico Mall is in negotiations with several businesses to occupy the space vacated by Sears, but it is not at liberty to disclose which ones.

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