On January 27, the Cleveland Indians will close their team shops at SouthPark Mall in Strongsville, Westgate Shopping Center in Fairview Park and The Strip in Canton, leaving the shop within Progressive Field as the lone survivor of a market that continues to see a shift toward on-line transactions. This report comes from Kevin Kleps of Crain’s Cleveland.
Though the Indians had a successful campaign in 2013, leading to a postseason contest against the Tampa Bay Rays, the surge in apparel purchases could not compensate for the rising costs involved with leases and operational margins.
“We’re evaluating all facets of our business, and we felt the market conditions are no longer economically viable,” said Curtis Danburg, the Indians’ senior director of communications.
As the retail landscape continues to change with each additional year, the Indians’ implementation of dynamic ticket pricing (as well as the “Buy Early and Save” campaigns) have forced ticket purchasing within team shops down to roughly 10 percent. As recent as 2011, the team saw 25 percent of their purchases being done within the brick-and-mortar shops. The team did not provide a specific number of jobs that will be impacted by the closings, but did offer that the decision will affect roughly 1.5 percent of the Tribe’s full-time employees and 2 percent of its part-timers.
“All those employees will have the opportunity to apply for positions here—specifically, game-day (operations),” Danburg said.