Sears used to be the company that you would go to for practically everything and for a while it seemed like they were going to be around forever. It’s strange to hear Sears being used in the context of “used to be.”
Heck, about six months ago my father called me to tell me about this new television that he had bought and about how much it cost. The price of it was somewhere around eight hundred dollars but with all these gift cards that he had saved over the years the final price came to about a hundred dollars and change. When I asked him why he decided to go to Sears over another store he said that he had all those gift cards and that he wanted to use them before they became useless.
Despite otherwise positive economic trends, the bad news continues into 2018 for a number of struggling brick and mortar retail brands.
In a corporate statement this week, Sears Holdings Corporation announced the latest in a succession of closures for its Kmart and Sears stores.
The company informed employees Thursday that a total of 64 of the remaining Kmart stores and 39 Sears stores will begin liquidation as early as next week. Each of the locations on the chopping block will be closed within a matter of weeks or months, according to the statement.
“Sears Holdings continues its strategic assessment of the productivity of our Kmart and Sears store base and will continue to right size our store footprint in number and size,” the statement read.
The company portrayed the additional store closures as part of an overall strategy to adapt to a changing economy.
“In the process, as previously announced we will continue to close some unprofitable stores as we transform our business model so that our physical store footprint and our digital capabilities match the needs and preferences of our members,” the statement continued.
For the brands’ diminishing customer base, Sears Holdings encouraged shoppers to visit a webpage that lists each of the Kmart and Sears stores set to be closed “between early March and early April 2018.”
USA Today published a list of all stores impacted, as well as their expected date of closure. Sears Auto Center locations, where applicable, are often set to close ahead of their respective department stores.
The latest round of corporate closures comes on the heels of another similar announcement late last year.
“The company on Thursday, November 2 informed associates at 45 Kmart stores and 18 Sears stores that we will be closing these stores in late January 2018,” the previous statement read.
As in earlier announcements, the company said eligible employees across the U.S. impacted by the decision “will receive severance and will have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Kmart or Sears stores.”
According to CNN, a corporate spokesperson did not offer an estimated number of employees affected by the most recent announcement.
Sears Holdings has been leading an industry trend of established retailers falling behind tech-based alternatives like Amazon.
The latest two rounds of closures only punctuate a lengthy and dramatic record of similar store liquidations.
As CNN reported, the total combined number of Kmart and Sears locations was somewhere around 1,000 in October, or roughly one third of the stores it was operating in 2006.