State

Kohl's keeps cool about possibility of Sonora store

SONORA -- Kohl's is recruiting a manager for a department store that it will not confirm it is opening.

The Wisconsin-based chain has the job opening on its Web site, but spokeswoman Sydney Hofer said in an e-mail Friday that "we've not announced any plans to open a new store."

The company had a similar response after it applied earlier this year for a permit to renovate the former Gottschalks space in the Junction shopping center.

The Union Democrat in Sonora reported Friday that a notice on the building says Kohl's will open there Sept. 26.

Hofer said the chain "has an ongoing real estate assessment process. At any given time, Kohl's is reviewing sites in communities nationwide. We do not comment on real estate speculation."

If the store indeed opens, it would fill a large gap left in the Mono Way center by last year's closure of Gottschalks amid a bankruptcy filing.

The Fresno-based chain closed stores in Modesto's Vintage Faire Mall and Century Center and in Merced. Forever 21 has filled the Vintage Faire space, but the other two properties are vacant.

Kohl's, a mid-priced retailer with 1,067 stores in 49 states, came to Modesto, Turlock and Stockton in 2004. Stores followed in Manteca and Riverbank in 2006. Last year, Kohl's took over the space in Merced left by the Mervyn's bankruptcy filing.

Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at jholland@modbee.com or 578-2385.

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