Sears announced it will close a third location in this region — this time in Piqua — leaving three area malls with giant empty retail spaces.

The Springfield Sears will be the only Sears Holdings location left in the area when the store in the Miami Valley Centre in Piqua is scheduled to close in February. The Dayton Mall store will close Nov. 25 and the Mall at Fairfield Commons store in Beavercreek will close sometime in December.

The Sears closures come in the wake of Elder-Beerman closing its large department stores at the same malls in August.

While Sears Holdings, which also owns Kmart, has been closing stores for years, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late October. The company announced a total closure of 228 stores since this summer.

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While the closures will cost the region hundreds of jobs, the current economy is helping to minimize the effects with low unemployment and increased consumer spending.

“It’s never nice to lose a job, but it is true that there are a lot of job openings right now, so certainly those people should feel confident that they will be able to find a job,” said Michael Lipsitz, an economics professor at Miami University’s Fisher School of Business.

The bigger concern is if sales from the bankrupt Sears don’t transfer to other retailers in the Miami Valley, but instead move to online retailers, which would ultimately lead spending out of the region. That could cause tax consequences without the money moving through local governments and fewer people spending while unemployed immediately after Sears closes, Lipsitz said.

“You might just think about it as a moving around of money rather than a loss in particular,” he said. “But it might look like a loss to Ohio.”

But there is a benefit.

“There’s some sense that Sears’ business model wasn’t working anymore,” he said. “Hopefully that’s being replaced by business models that are better…