HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILLINOIS — Citing a need to “accelerate its transformation and its return to profitability,” Sears Holdings announced last week the plan to close 68 Kmart and 10 stores this summer. Among the closings listed, after years of rumors, was the Eaton Kmart store.
In February, the company said that it would accelerate the closing of unprofitable stores. Last week’s announcement, according to store officials, follows a “comprehensive evaluation of the company’s store portfolio that took into account historical and recent store performance, and the timing of lease expirations.”
All of the Sears stores listed and nearly all of the Kmart stores will close in late July — the Eaton Kmart included.
“The decision to close stores is a difficult but necessary step as we take aggressive actions to strengthen our company, fund our transformation and restore Sears Holdings to profitability,” Edward S. Lampert, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sears Holdings said in a press release. “We’re focusing on our best members, our best categories and our best stores as we work to accelerate our transformation.”
Sears Holdings expects the store closures to generate a meaningful level of cash from the liquidation of store inventory and from the sale or sublease of some of the related real estate. Together with the over $1.2 billion in debt financing that Sears Holdings announced it had raised earlier this month to provide capital to execute its transformation and to meet its financial obligations, the company believes it has taken important steps toward its primary 2016 objective to restore profitability.
Eligible associates impacted by these store closures will receive severance and will have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Kmart or Sears stores. “We are committed to treating these associates with respect and compassion during this process,” Lampert said.
“Sears Holdings will continue to transform as the role of the store evolves to fit the way that members want to shop,” Lampert said. “Through our continued investments in Integrated Retail, our stores are a critical component of our strategy as we provide our members with industry-leading innovations such as Meet with an Expert, In-Vehicle Pickup and Return and Exchange in Five.”
Customers can use the store locator function on our web sites to find the location of their nearest Kmart and Sears stores.
The closing Kmart and Sears stores will start their liquidation sales on May 12 and April 29, respectively.
The Kmart store in Springboro will also close, as will stores in Lima, Ashtabula, Fremont and Lorain.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.