More Sears Stores to Close
Sears announced at the start of the year that it would be closing 150 underperforming stores, but the gutting didn’t stop there, with 30 more quietly added to the list.
“At the beginning of the year we said we would continue to strategically and aggressively evaluate our store space and productivity, and accelerate the closing of some unprofitable stores,’’ Sears Holdings spokesman Howard Riefs said in a statement.
March’s quarterly reports compounded on the financial pressures the company is facing, forcing more stores to join the list of closings.
Sears continues to maintain about 1,400 stores across the country. It has tried numerous new strategies to help it counteract its consumer base being eaten away by online retailers like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), which have taken away many customers from the brick-and-mortar retail giant.
Sears is not alone, however. Many other big box retailers have faced the crunch of the tech shift, putting them on the back foot as they try and find a way to adapt to the changing landscape.
The company registered a loss of $2.2 billion in 2016, and hasn’t turned a profit since 2010. Sears has sunken into debt as it has borrowed money to keep itself afloat, as well as sold off real-estate after its closures in order to help balance the budget.
Much of this is the result of boom-time mall building in the 1980s, before the advent of e-commerce came in and swept up many of the traditional consumers of retail giants.
On top of the damage done to the stores, many workers are left jobless in the aftermath of the closings. Smaller communities and cities with lower-income people also are left with voids that are difficult to fill, as these low-skill jobs are integral in employing dozens, sometimes hundreds, of people who otherwise may have trouble finding work.
The knock-on effects can be felt far and wide across the country, with some cities looking towards bankruptcy and having difficulty balancing the budget as more people are left jobless and taxes suffer. As revenue weakens and joblessness increases, many of the higher-educated may also be prompted to flee, creating a deadly cycle for communities who rely on malls, big retail stores, and other businesses to help keep their communities afloat.
“Sears is closing 30 more stores — is yours on the list?” USA Today, May 19, 2017.