Sears and Kmart merged in 2005. The company plans to close 100 to 120 stores nationwide and recently released a list of 79 closures.
Denise LaPine buys her grandchildren’s clothes at Kmart.
“I like the prices there,” said the Plattsburgh resident.
Its closure would be a loss to the area, she said. Fortunately for LaPine and other shoppers, neither Sears nor Kmart stores in Plattsburgh were on a list of 79 pending closures announced recently.
Sears and Kmart merged in 2005, and the retailer, faced with declining sales, announced it will close as many as 120 stores to raise cash. The company recently released a list of the first 79 closures.
Kmart’s sales decline reflects decreases in the consumer electronics and apparel categories and lower layaway sales. Sears’ decline was primarily driven by consumer electronics and home appliances.
The combination of lower sales and continued margin pressure coupled with expense increases led to the decline and recent announcement. Both stores expect the fourth quarter to be less than half of last year’s amount.
“Given our performance and the difficult economic environment, especially for big-ticket items, we intend to implement a series of actions to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” said Chief Executive Office Lou D’Ambrosio in a press release. “These actions will better enable us to focus out investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail - at the store, online and in the home.”
The actions include closing 100 to 120 Kmart and Sears Full-line stores to generate $140 to $170 million of cash.
Florida stands to lose 11 stores, according to a preliminary list of 79 planned closures.
Ohio, Michigan and Georgia will lose six in each state, while Tennessee, North Carolina and Minnesota are set to lose four stores each.
Each store employs between 40 and 80 people.
The closures do not include stores in Sears’ home state of Illinois.
The projected closings represent roughly 3 percent of Sears Holdings’ U.S. stores. The merged company has about 3,560 stores in the United States.
In addition to the specific store closures, the company plans to carefully evaluate store performance going forward. The company will no longer adhere to the practice of keeping marginally performing stores open while working to improve their performance.
Instead, the company will focus resources on better performing stores.
LaPine hopes the Plattsburgh Kmart remains open. She goes there about once a week to shop.
“I like the store, and it would bother me if it closed,” she said. “It has been here a long time, and is a store we have depended on for years.”