Another major retailer in Central Jersey has closed its doors for good.

Nordstrom this week said in a release it would close 16 stores as part of its post COVID-19 market strategy to make sure it's able to continue serving customers "well into the future," according to spokeswoman Emily Sterken.

One of those stores is at Freehold Raceway Mall. The store will not reopen and will leave the mall by August, Sterken told New Jersey 101.5. It is the company's only New Jersey store that will close.

The rest of Freehold Raceway Mall has been closed since March per an executive order by Gov. Phil Murphy closing non-essential businesses during the pandemic.

"Our goal is to best position ourselves to serve customers in each market where we operate. Because of the impacts COVID-19 has had on our business, we need to take a critical look at the physical footprint of our stores to determine which we will continue to operate," Sterken said.

She said the stores that are closing were selected based on "the unique needs of the market, the current state of our business and real estate agreements."

"These types of decisions are never easy because we realize what this means for our employees," she said. "We’re committed to taking care of them as best we can, including providing support and resources through this transition."

An online petition hoping to keep the store open collected nearly 1,800 signatures late Thursday afternoon after just a few hours of being posted.

Lois Bursey Schleiffer told New Jersey 101.5 that she had been with the store for eight years and said the news came via a conference call.

"All of my and the store's customers are very sad we are closing," she said.

According to its website, the store had been open for curbside pickup of items ordered online. Murphy's executive order allows retailers deemed non-essential to offer the pickup service.

Nordstrom opened in 1992, two years after the mall opened, and is the mall's second department store to close this year. Sears shut its store at the mall in February.

Messages to the mall's front office were not returned on Thursday afternoon.

Nordstrom has stores at the Cherry Hill Mall, the Menlo Park Mall in Edison, the Mercer Mall in Lawrenceville, Garden State Plaza in Paramus and the Mall at Short Hills.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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