This Iconic Department Store Is Closing Its Last Locations in These States
The once powerful retailer is slowly going away—and leaving these areas for good.
It's not hard to see that traditional retailers have been struggling over the past decade—especially department stores. What was already a growing problem caused by increased competition from online shops was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and is now being dragged out by a strained economy and low foot traffic. Unfortunately, these conditions have even affected some of the most recognized names in retail, whose now shrinking footprints are a reminder of changing times. And now, one iconic department store is closing its last two locations in two states. Read on to see which places will no longer have access to the quickly disappearing retailer.
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The latest wave of retail closures has not shown any signs of slowing.
No matter how large or influential they may be, all businesses struggle with the same market realities at one point or another. Unfortunately, many retailers have recently resorted to closing locations in an effort to stay afloat.
On Aug. 31, popular home retailer Bed Bath & Beyond announced that it would be shutting down 150 of its "lower-producing" locations in the coming months, effectively shrinking its store count by 16 percent, according to a press release. The company also said it would be laying off around 20 percent of its corporate and supply chain employees as part of its "cost structure initiative" as it struggles to stay afloat.
Meanwhile, other once iconic brands have all but disappeared after recent shutterings. In April, Kmart confirmed that it only had three remaining stores in New Jersey, New York, and Florida after a recent wave of closures. The retailer once counted more than 2,000 locations at its peak, USA Today reported.
And now, another formerly powerful retailer is on the verge of disappearing entirely as it shutters more locations.
An iconic department store is closing its last locations in certain areas.
Businesses may come and go over time, but it's not every day that a once ubiquitous retailer leaves a major market for good. According to a social media post made by the store, the last remaining Sears location in New York will be closing soon, Mid-Hudson News reports. A spokesperson for the Newburgh Mall confirmed to the news outlet that the retailer was indeed winding down business and will shutter for good on Oct. 16 as the iconic department store says goodbye to the Empire State.
"It's with a heavy heart to be announcing the Sears Store at the Newburgh Mall is closing its doors on October 16th. We want to thank the community for its support over the last 43 years here in the Newburgh Mall," the store wrote in a Facebook post. The store is also advertising a liquidation sale of over $2.3 million of its inventory and fixtures until the final day.
Another state will lose its only remaining Sears store in the coming days.
The shrinking retailer is also pulling out of another state for good. The last remaining Sears in Hawaii at the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu is closing its doors soon, local ABC affiliate KITV4 reports. The location, which is a smaller Appliances & Mattresses store, has not yet announced exactly when its last day of operations will be.
News of the closure comes months after the Aloha State lost its last full Sears department store in November 2021 with the closure of the location at the Kaahumanu Center on Maui. Islands residents will now only have access to a repair service for products purchased under warranty, a store associate from the Honolulu location confirmed to KITV4.
Sears closures have become common over the past year, including its Hometown stores.
The current state of Sears lies in stark contrast to the days not too long ago when its name was synonymous with shopping. The company's storied history saw it begin as a mail-order catalog in 1892 before eventually becoming the largest retailer in the U.S. in the 1980s. However, a downturn in sales and financial struggles in the subsequent decades led it to being purchased by Kmart in 2004 as an attempt to keep both struggling brands afloat. Instead, both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018, with Sears' footprint continuing to shrink to just 36 stores in 2021, according to Forbes.
In a statement to USA Today in Sep. 2021, current parent company Transformco said that its "go-forward store strategy for Sears and Kmart is to operate a diversified portfolio consisting of a small number of larger, premier stores with a larger number of small-format stores." The company said this included the more than 300 Hometown Stores that were open at the time, which are "primarily operated by independent dealers or franchisees of an affiliate of Transformco."
However, the impending closures in New York and Hawaii are just the latest in a wave of recent shutterings that appear to be prolonging the brand's disappearance. This past spring, roughly 100 Sears Hometown locations were set to permanently close in a matter of weeks and effectively cut the retailer's footprint in half, according to a CNN report from May 31. More announcements of imminent closings have since followed, including a Sears Hometown location in Cudahy, Wisconsin advertising a "store closing event," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on Aug. 25.