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PHILADELPHIA-Retailers looking for bargains seem certain to find them in Pennsylvania in general and near Pittsburgh in particular. This month, Rocky Hill, CT-based Ames Department Stores lost its year-long battle to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Ames will close all of its 327 stores, 97 of which are in Pennsylvania, within the next 10 weeks. Only New York State will lose more Ames units. Ohio loses 11.

Pittsburgh alone has three Ames stores. One of the largest is at The Waterworks on Freeport Road. Also among the chain’s larger are units in Bethel Park, PA, and at Liberty Plaza in Youngstown, OH.

Meanwhile, Youngstown, OH-based Phar-Mor also failed to emerge from Chapter 11 and is closing its 73 remaining stores, approximately 17 of which are in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Phar-Mor’s 605,000-sf distribution center near Youngstown is also on the block.

This April, Troy, MI-based Kmart filed for Chapter 11 protection and immediately dropped 283 stores from its nationwide roster. The fate of the retailer and its remaining stores is uncertain. Kmart units range in size from 40,300 sf to 182,714 sf.

According to published reports, the Ames and Phar-Mor closings will cause retail rental rates in the Pittsburgh area to drop “at least” $4 per sf. The still-flourishing Wal-Martand Target chains are seen as prime prospects for vacant space.

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