BLOOMINGTON — While Eastland Mall is losing two more longtime anchor stores — Bergner's closes Wednesday and Sears is beginning a liquidation sale — several new businesses are preparing to open at the east Bloomington shopping center.

Hibbett Sports plans to open a store at the mall sometime in September, the company said in an email Tuesday. 

The sporting goods retailer will occupy approximately 4,700 square feet near the Charlotte Russe store, said Stacey Keating, spokeswoman for mall owner CBL Properties.

A sign posted at the Hibbett site said it is hiring sales management, but company officials did not provide the number of employees who will work there.

Planet Fitness is expected to open this fall, possibly sometime in September, in part of the former J.C. Penney store at the mall. It will be the nationwide chain's first entry into the Bloomington-Normal market.

The fitness center will occupy 20,119 square feet of the former department store's 71,000-square-foot site anchoring the mall's northwest corner.

In a pre-grand-opening sale, Planet Fitness is featuring new memberships starting at $1 down and $10 a month, with no long-term commitment, according to the company's website. The offer expires Friday.

Founded more than 25 years ago in Dover, N.H., Planet Fitness now has more than 1,400 clubs throughout the United States and Canada.

Family clothing retailer H&M plans to occupy 20,000 square feet in the former J.C. Penney space.

"We have not yet released the opening date for this location, but we will have approximately 20 employees," H&M spokesman Patrick Shaner said Tuesday.

The store will offer one-stop shopping for women's, men's and teens' clothing, the H&M Kids collection for newborns to 14-year-olds and a "store within a store" for accessories, according to the company's website.

Hibbett Sports, headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., "is a leading athletic-inspired fashion retailer with more than 1,000 stores primarily located in small and mid-sized communities across the country," according to the company's website. Hibbett stores, including one at the Hickory Pointe Mall in Forsyth, feature footwear, apparel and equipment from such brands as Nike, Under Armour and Adidas.

Outback Steakhouse plans to move from the Lakewood Plaza shopping center to a new, freestanding building being constructed in the mall's parking lot. No information was available Tuesday on when the new restaurant might open.

Sears will close in November, and its auto store will close at the end of this week.

Sears is the fourth Eastland anchor store to close or announce its closing. The Sears closing means Kohl's department store will be the last remaining anchor at the mall. 

A sign posted Tuesday said Bergner's was in its last two days, and the compnay's website said all remaining Bergner's stores will close for good at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Liquidation sales have been ongoing at Bergner's since its parent company, The Bon-Ton Stores, filed for bankruptcy in February.

Sears and J.C. Penney were the mall's first anchors when it opened in 1966 as Eastland Shopping Center. Bergner's followed in 1973, Kohl's in 1984 and Famous Barr in 1999.

Macy's replaced Famous Barr in 2006 before closing in March 2017. J.C. Penney closed about six months later. 

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Contact Maria Nagle at (309) 820-3244. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle


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