This Iconic Department Store Is Closing Even More Locations

What was once 3,900 stores is now under 30.

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As the cumulative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and months of lockdowns continue to batter the economy, there’s more bad news in the world of shopping, this time regarding one of the oldest American names in retail. Sears and Kmart stores are experiencing yet another round of closures, with branches of both brands shuttering across the country throughout the coming months. To see if yours is on the chopping block, read on, and for more on the latest news from retailers, check out This Beloved Furniture Chain Is Closing All But 1 of Its Stores.

Both Sears and Kmart are owned by parent company Transformco, which is closing at least 13 branches of Sears and seven Kmart stores by mid-April, USA Today reports. Several of the closure announcements were made via the individual stores' Facebook pages rather than an official statement from the company. “We were gearing up to bring you another season of Kmart fun, but unfortunately that was not in the cards for us this go around,” one Kmart in Silver Springs, Maryland wrote.

At the start of 2010, Sears had more than 3,900 stores. According to Forbes, this had shrunk to 489 at the start of 2019, and at the end of Jan. 2021, there were just 36 department stores left, along with 30 Kmarts, down from 360 in 2019.

Originally founded in 1886 as the R.W.Sears Watch Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the company first sold watches by mail order. Seven years later, it became Sears, Roebuck and Company, going on to pioneer mail order delivery to even the most remote, rural locations in the country. Sears remained one of America’s biggest retailers until the 1980s, having diversified into everything from automobile repair to real estate. In 2005, Sears was purchased by Kmart, which was founded in 1899, for $12 billion.

But even before the current COVID-inspired crisis, analysts were sounding the alarm over Sears’ ill-fated future. In 2017, the company saw store closures, job losses, and executive departures, as well as Sears suing two of its suppliers. The following year, the company filed for bankruptcy. Even with those closures and changes, the prognosis seemed bleak. Ben Unglesbee of Retail Dive wrote of how “customers see understaffed and poorly maintained stores, while analysts and other observers see a company undergoing a slow motion liquidation outside of bankruptcy.” He added that “the company still faces long-term liquidity challenges that show no signs of abating. To put it bluntly: It’s getting harder and harder to see how this could possibly end well.”

As Chris Isidore at CNN recently put it, "With no viable exit-strategy, both Sears and Kmart are slowly, quietly dying."

Customers writing online reviews of Sears have reported stores with entire floors closed off, banks of escalators switched off, and once-full shelves standing empty.

But this is bad news not just for Sears and Kmart and the many customers who love the stores. As Unglesbee writes, such a big player leaving the market has a damaging effect on the environment around it. “As Sears quietly disappears, more mall anchor spaces go dark. While a competitor closing a store can free up market share for rivals, it also hurts the overall health of a shopping center,” he explained. And with shopping malls already struggling badly after a year of reduced footfall, little tourism, and mandatory shutdowns, this is another dark day for the retail landscape in America.

Read on to see which Sears and Kmarts are closing or have closed recently, according to USA Today, and for more on the latest in business, check out This Legendary Brand Is Closing Its Last Remaining Stores.

Read the original article on Best Life.

1
California

boats, pier, and city skyline of Long Beach, California
Shutterstock
  • Sears in Clovis: Sierra Vista Mall, 1140 Shaw Ave.
  • Sears in Los Angeles: Boyle, 2650 E Olympic Blvd.
  • Sears in Orange: Mall of Orange, 2100 N Tustin St.
  • Sears in Sacramento: Arden Fair Mall, 1601 Arden Way
  • Kmart in Big Bear Lake: 42126 Big Bear Blvd.
  • Kmart in Long Beach: 2900 North Bellflower Blvd.

2
Florida

sunset along florida's treasure coast
FloridaStock / Shutterstock
  • Sears in Brandon: 686 Brandon Town Center Mall, 686 Brandon Town Center Mall

3
Hawaii

The vibrant historic downtown, tourist and retail district of the city of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii
YinYang / iStock
  • Sears in Aiea: Pearlridge Shopping Center, 98-180 Kamehameha Highway
  • Sears in Hilo: Prince Kuhio Plaza, 111 E Puainako St.

4
Maryland

Silver Spring is an unincorporated community in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States.
DenisTangneyJr / iStock
  • Sears in Silver Spring: White Oak Shopping Center, 11255 New Hampshire Ave.
  • Kmart in Silver Spring: 14014 Connecticut Ave.

5
Massachusetts

Lighthouse at Hyannis (Lewis Bay Light), Nantucket sound, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
OlegAlbinsky / iStock
  • Sears in North Attleboro: Emerald Square Mall, 1009 S Washington St.
  • Kmart in Hyannis: Capetown Plaza, 768 Iyannough Rd.

6
New Jersey

The skyline of Newark, New Jersey as shot from the Passaic River with a rail bridge on the left of the frame
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  • Kmart in Belleville: 411 Main St.

7
New York

view of the adirondacks from the peak of whiteface mountain
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  • Sears in Valley Stream: Green Acres Mall, 1150 Sunrise Highway

8
Pennsylvania

harrisburg pennsylvania state capitol buildings
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  • Kmart in Kingston/Edwardsville: 18 Mark Plaza
  • Kmart in Willow Street: 2600 North Willow St.

9
Puerto Rico

colorful apartment houses in san juan puerto rico
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  • Sears in Caguas: Las Catalinas Mall
  • Sears in Carolina: Plaza Carolina Station
  • Sears in Hatillo: Calle Truncado
  • Sears in Mayaguez: Mayaguez Mall, 975 Hostos Ave., Ste. 110
  • Kmart in Bayamón: Rexville, PR-199
  • Kmart in Mayaguez: Pr Route 2 Km 149.5
  • Kmart in Rio Piedras: 9410 Ave. Los Rome

10
Texas

city skyline of Austin, Texas at sunset
iStock
  • Sears in Mesquite: Town East Mall, 3000 Town East Mall

11
Virginia

aerial view of smith mountain lake in virginia
Clupton / Shutterstock
  • Sears in Sterling: Dulles Town Center, 21000 Dulles Town Circle

And for more beloved businesses in trouble, check out The Popular Pizza Chain That Just Filed for Bankruptcy.

John Quinn
John Quinn is a London-based writer and editor who specializes in lifestyle topics. Read more
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