One of the Biggest Department Store Chains Is Closing Dozens of Stores

Old blue closed sign hanging in a shop window

Sears is Closing Almost 50 Additional Stores

One of America’s biggest department store chains, Sears Holdings Corp, has announced that the company is closing 43 additional stores across the country.

The stores being closed include eight Sears stores and 35 Kmart stores, which are owned by Sears. Included on the list are four Kmart stores in Florida, three in Ohio, and three in Indiana. Most of these store closures will be taking place in early October.

According to a statement posted on the company’s blog, all of these stores being closed were unprofitable. Company Chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert, wrote that the company will now be focusing on its “best stores,” with an aim to “return to profitability”.

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Lampert says that the company’s strategy to close stores is two-pronged. Sears is not only closing its unprofitable locations, but is also reducing the size of its stores since “many of them are simply too big for our current needs.”

The company is planning to shutter stores with bigger square footage and cut its lease expenses. Subsequently, smaller-format concept stores may be opened to meet customers’ demands.

Sears, which was once a dominant force in American retail, has been losing ground to big-box retailers Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Target Corporation, as well as to the online behemoth Amazon.com, Inc. Sears has been losing money for years now as its rivals continue to claw away its profits.

In particular, the rise of e-commerce rung the death knell for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers as more and more Americans started shopping online. Amazon has emerged as the biggest threat, whereby many retailers have seen a significant decline in foot traffic at their stores.

Operating physical locations has consequently become expensive for brick-and-mortar retailers as sales drop. This is why America has witnessed an unprecedented number of store closures in the first half of this year.

Last month, Sears announced 20 store closures. So far this year, the total count of Sears store closures has crossed 260. In addition, the Canadian spin-off of Sears Holdings Corp, Sears Canada (which is also headed by CEO Eddie Lampert) filed for bankruptcy last month and is closing hundreds of stores across Canada.

Lampert has taken the drastic steps after Sears reported to be having “significant doubts” about its future.

Source

Transformation Update,” Sears Holdings, July 7, 2017.

Sears Closing Another 20 Stores Amid Ongoing Sales Slide,” Fortune, June 23, 2017.

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