Sixty-four Kmart stores across the nation will be closed in December 2016. However, this should not come as much of a surprise, as the parent company, Sears Holdings, has shut more than 400 Kmart discount and superstores in the past five years, according to Business Insider.
The closures come on the heels of a reported loss of $292 million in the chain’s last fiscal year. The chain is down to about 870 stores nationwide, from about 1,200 in 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Sears will also be closing some of its namesake stores as well, as it shifts its model to accommodate for competition against appliance stores such as The Home Depot and general retail stores like Walmart. Seritage Growth Properties, which owns several properties with Sears and Kmart stores reported in an SEC filing that 17 locations will be vacated by January 2017.
Sears Holdings called the locations set for closure “unprofitable” and in a statement chairman and CEO Edward Lampert said they were looking to focus on their best members, their best categories and their best stores as they push forward and accelerate their transformation. According to Fortune, Sears will be changing its focus from operating a network of stores to a member-focused model offering incentives to members who shop with the store regularly.
In August, it was reported that Lampert provided the company with a $300 million loan in order to help fund the transformation. Earlier, Lambert’s hedge fund ESL Investments provided half of a $500 million loan to the company.
Sears saw a drop of 6.7 percent in holiday sales last year and Kmart 7.2 percent. They were the worst losses of any major retailers. Sears reported its 11th year of comparable sales decline in February and has reportedly lost $8 billion from 2010 to 2015.
In July, Sears Holdings dismissed reports that it would be shutting the stores down for good. Despite losses, Kmart has begun efforts to revitalize its stores and launched several new marketing campaigns to bring customers into the different locations.
The company announced it would be bringing back its iconic “Bluelight Specials,” surprise 15-minutes sales signaled by flashing blue lights. The company brought back the Specials in 2001 only to go bankrupt in 2002. The company has also tried to revive its “Attention Kmart shoppers” slogan made popular in past decades.
An exact number of employees to be laid off at Kmart has not been given, but considering the number of stores closing, estimates are in the thousands. Stores set to be closed are to begin liquidation sales soon with doors closing for good in mid-December. For more CDA News, follow our tweets on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
By Peter Segall