Kimco Realty, the landlord of Suburban Square, was expected to make an announcement by summer on new tenants taking over the 100,000-square-foot former Macy's space at iconic Suburban Square.

But as of this week - almost midway through summer - there was still nothing to report.

In many ways, the Main Line shopping center represents the plight of middle-tier malls that have lost key anchors and are struggling for replacements in the age of internet shopping and old-school competition from behemoth, trophy malls such as nearby King of Prussia.

What ails Suburban Square? Is it too remotely located, lacking in advertising, saddled with a lackluster retail mix, or all of the above?

Some expect that things will only get worse once KOP Mall opens a new luxury wing next month that could siphon away even more Main Line shoppers from Suburban Square.

The former Macy's space is one of 38 Macy's stores nationally that were closed this year.

Nina Rogers, director of real estate for Kimco Realty Corp, said in a statement: "Kimco considers Suburban Square a best-in-class center, and we are continually looking for ways to further enhance the shopping and dining experience the center offers to the surrounding community. In the last few months, we've added a diverse mix of new businesses, including Sephora, Delsette, and SoulCycle, and we are working to ensure the same caliber tenant goes into the existing Macy's space. When we have more details, we will share them with you."

Other retail experts say that filling that amount of space - even on the tony Main Line - is a tall order.

"It doesn't surprise me that they haven't signed a tenant yet," said Lauren Gilchrist, vice president and director of research for Jones Lang LaSalle in Philadelphia. "The space was only vacated about three months ago, which isn't that long, and it's huge.

"Looking at retail in Ardmore, I'd put the total retail square footage at about 1.24 million square feet," Gilchrist said. "A 100,000-square-foot space is about 8 percent of the total inventory, so this is a huge negative absorption for such a small area.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the landlord is entertaining several smaller tenants to fill the space rather than one large one."

That appears to be the plan, according to Steven Gartner, CBRE's managing director for retail services and lead broker for Suburban Square.

"Most occupants want a portion of the building, which has always been our intent," Gartner said. "After all, there aren't any 100,000-square-foot department stores around anymore. To maintain the character of Suburban Square, as well as continuing to blend into the established Main Line neighborhood, tearing the building down for a new building is not an option."

But beyond the loss of an anchor store, Suburban Square has had high turnover.

Those that have left in the last six to 12 months include Corner Bakery Cafe, Williams-Sonoma, Coach, Talbots, Plate Restaurant, Chico's, White House Black Market, and Aerosoles.

Three pop-up leases that introduced new retailers did not work over the winter. None returned.

"I noticed the turnover - they've closed a lot of stores all of a sudden," said Linda Heffernan, a home real estate agent from Swarthmore, who was there last weekend shopping with a friend from out of town. "I'm not sure what they are trying do, maybe more development of condos. I'm curious to see what happens there in the next few years."

Bill Park, head of retail in this area for Deloitte & Touche L.L.P., said Suburban Square's fate was not irreversible. "Retail centers like Suburban Square can win in this environment if they stay agile, embrace change, and offer the customer a highly differentiated experience."

Suburban Square loyalist Eric Michelson, 68, a cardiologist who lives nearby, just wants to see the center thriving again.

"There's too much dead space here," he said last Sunday as he stood in front of Clarks, an upscale shoe retailer that offered a "two pairs for $99" special over July Fourth weekend.

Michelson's assessment: "It has to be more of an experience, more family-friendly, with convenient parking and more shop owners with their doors open for an inviting feel, especially with the warmer weather.

"Why there's not more people here is beyond me."

sparmley@phillynews.com

215-854-4184 @SuzParmley