Chesterton Tribune

Portage Kmart to close, no date yet

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The Portage Super Kmart at 6050 U.S. Highway 6 has been added to the list of Kmart and Sears stores to be closed, Sears Holdings Corporation said in a statement released on Friday.

The closure date has yet to be determined.

The Portage store’s closing brings to three the number of Kmarts in Indiana which Sears Holdings will close. The others: one in St. John in Lake County, at 9550 Wicker; and one in Indianapolis. A Sears Full-Line store in Anderson is also on the list.

Sears Holdings has announced 80 closures to date, of a possible 100 to 120.

“Kmart’s quarter-to-date comparable store sales decline reflects decreases in the consumer electronics and apparel categories and lower layaway sales,” Sears Holdings said. “Sears Domestic’s quarter-to-date sales decline was primarily driven by the consumer electronics and home appliance categories, with more than half of the decline in Sears Domestic occurring in consumer electronics. Sears apparel sales were flat and Lands’ End in Sears stores was up mid-single digits.”

“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,” Sears Holdings CEO Lou D’Ambrosio said. “These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail—at the store, on line, and in the home.

The closure of 100 to 120 Kmart and Sears Full-Line stores is expected to generate $140 million to $170 million in cash as the net inventory of those stores is sold, while additional cash will be generated from the sale or sublease of the real estate, Sears Holdings said.

“In addition to the specific store closures listed above, we will carefully evaluate store performance going forward and act opportunistically to recognize value from poor performing stores as circumstances allow,” Sears Holdings added. “While our past practice has been to keep marginally performing stores open while we worked to improve their performance, we no longer believe that to be the appropriate action in this environment. We intend to accentuate our focus and resources to our better performing stores with the goal of converting their customer experience into a world-class integrated retail experience.”

A typical Kmart or Sears store employs between 40 and 80 people, Sears Holdings said.

Florida will see—so far—a total of 11 stores closed; Michigan, Ohio, and Georgia, a total of six in each. Of the 80 stores to be closed, 39 are Kmart and 41 Sears.


Posted 1/3/2011