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Several store closings rattle Puerto Rico’s retail sector

The Hacienda Monte Alto coffee kiosk closed its location at The Mall of San Juan, to be replaced by Corso Coffee later this month.

The Hacienda Monte Alto coffee kiosk closed its location at The Mall of San Juan, to be replaced by Corso Coffee later this month.

Several retailers are ringing in 2016 by exiting the market, with the confirmed closings of several stores at The Mall of San Juan and throughout the island.

On Monday, this media outlet confirmed the closing of the Hacienda Monte Alto coffee shop at the less-than-year-old mall, in response to a temporary lease that expired, The Mall of San Juan officials confirmed.

The Adjuntas-based coffee retailer “wanted to test out the concept of a coffee shop,” through a stint at the shopping center.

“Hacienda Monte Alto was a great tenant and performed well during its time at The Mall of San Juan. The vendor has always operated under a temporary, short-term lease. The space is now under a long-term lease with another coffee vendor that will open soon,” José A. Ayala Bonilla, general manager of The Mall of San Juan.

“The space will be transitioned to Corso Coffee, a brand of American Cut Bar & Grill,” he confirmed.

The new business expected to open in about 10 days, was part of the deal struck between the mall operators and LDV Hospitality, which operates the American Cut Bar & Grill that opened in December.

“It was always part of our deal, but I wanted to open the restaurant first,” John Meadow, President of LDV Hospitality, told the media last month.

Hacienda Monte Alto is expected to open other locations at other shopping centers, after the successful trial run it had at the San Juan mall, a source close to the operation said Monday.

Meanwhile, Camicissima Milano, another tenant at The Mall of San Juan, is withdrawing from the market less than a year after its debut, resulting from the bankruptcy filing of its parent company. The Italian clothing retailer known for its traditional craftsmanship, use of high-end fabrics and attention to detail, will close all of its stores nationwide and Puerto Rico by Jan. 31.

Taubman Centers already have a new tenant for the space to be vacated, said a source with knowledge of the situation, but who refrained from revealing the name of the future arrival.

Also Monday, retailer GameStop confirmed it will be closing all of its stores in Puerto Rico by the end of March, also representing its exit from the local market. In all, 40 shops will shutter, leaving about 400 people jobless, company officials confirmed via a statement.

The video game retailer cited “ongoing business challenges and increased governmental restraints experienced in Puerto Rico” as the reasons for its decision.

However, GameStop’s overall business has been declining in recent years as digital downloads have taken the place of physical video games. In 2014, the retailer confirmed the closing of 120 to 130 of its more than 6,500 GameStop locations in the U.S. mainland.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.


  1. Enrique January 12, 2016

    Are any of the few Puerto Rican brands that opened in the mall long term leases or were they just space fillers until gringo retailers sign up? #SupportLocal #SocialResponsibility

  2. Eric Corbin January 12, 2016

    If some of those local brands could sustain through this economy, of course this would be ideal. But a long term lease is more probable with a big name retailer given the risk involved. Unfortunately, Puerto Rico’s greatest economic woes have only began to surface.

    Support for the local economy must come first with a growing population confident enough to pursue entrepreneurship, and policy conducive to that. Instead, it’s shrinking.

    Such a beautiful island too. Wal Mart and Walgreens will prevail, while the smaller stores will inevitably suffer as population concentrations change.


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