DES MOINES, Iowa — By now we have all seen the “going out of business” signs on Younkers stores in the metro, and you will soon start to see them on another big department store, Sears.

Sears in the Merle Hay Mall, as well as all three metro Younkers stores are closing by the end of the year.

Bon Ton, the owner of Younkers, said there is not a set date that Younkers in Iowa will close but they assume the liquidation sales will run until mid to late August.

Merle Hay Mall’s CEO Elizabeth Holland said the Sears in the mall will close sometime in mid to late October.

“While we are very sad to see these Younkers and Sears go I think the market is telling us where people want to shop and it’s pretty clear that they don’t want to shop in department stores,” Holland said.

Sears closing will leave a large amount of open space. Merle Hay Mall has a few different ideas for what the space will look like.

“The shallowest part of the parking is on the Merle Hay Road side and so in order to make that a bigger parking field we would take down half the store or possibly the whole thing, and really create an outdoor shopping environment with the remaining…