Sears Is Liquidating Inventory and Closing Its Last Store in Another State
The once iconic retailer will lose yet another location in the coming weeks.
The retail industry can be unforgiving, and Sears is a perfect example of how the tables can turn for even some of its biggest players. The once-iconic retailer has experienced a significant downfall in recent years, leading it to all but disappear from the map entirely. Even as the company struggles to stay afloat, a handful of locations are still managing to hang on. But now, Sears appears to be closing one of its few remaining outposts as it plans to shutter its last store in another state. Read on to see which area will bid farewell to the former mall mainstay.
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Sears is closing its last location in another state soon.
Shoppers in North Carolina will soon be without access to a Sears location. The retailer is closing its last store in the state, located at the Friendly Center in Greensboro, local CBS affiliate WFMY reports.
As of April 17, management has not announced an official last day of business, but signs and banners hanging near the store's entrance alert shoppers that the location's days are indeed numbered. Closing sales are also underway to liquidate inventory ahead of the closure, the news outlet reports.
The location at 3200 West Friendly Avenue became the last Sears store in North Carolina after two locations in Concord were previously shuttered. The shopping outlet's owners also confirmed the development in a statement to WFMY, saying: "The Sears closure is the first step of an active redevelopment plan, which provides CBL [Properties] the opportunity to redevelop prime real estate at one of our top-performing properties."
The retailer has fewer than 20 remaining locations across the U.S.
While Sears used to dominate the retail landscape, its numbers are now seriously dwindling. The latest North Carolina closure will leave the chain with just 18 stores across the U.S., according to retail data company ScrapeHero.
Currently, California and Florida each have three remaining locations of the shrinking department store, followed by two in Texas. In addition, Kansas, Virginia, Washington, New Jersey, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Massachusetts all have a single Sears store remaining, as well as one in Puerto Rico.
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Sears has struggled to stay afloat over the past decade.
Given its current condition, it can be hard to remember how Sears was once synonymous with shopping. The company that started as a mail-order business at the turn of the 20th century built itself up to become the largest retailer in the U.S. by the 1980s, branching off into the credit card and real estate sector during its prime, Bloomberg reported.
However, the company failed to innovate amid increased competition, leading to a drop in sales numbers that forced a merger with Kmart in 2004. But the move failed to revitalize either of the brands and locations of both stores dwindled through the subsequent decades, ultimately resulting in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in 2018, per CNBC.
Unfortunately, the move only further complicated the path forward for the struggling retailer after creditors and suppliers brought a lawsuit against the company that languished in court for nearly four years. And while the company finally removed itself from bankruptcy last October, the retailer's diminished state made any kind of comeback to its former glory something of a longshot.
"They do not have an appealing value proposition to customers, and the amount of competition in the retail marketplace offering similar goods means the end will come at some point," Ray Wimer, PhD, professor of retail practice at Syracuse University, told Fox Business last November.
Customers say that even the remaining locations don't live up to the store's legacy.
Those nostalgic for the Sears shopping experience may take comfort in the fact that there are still barely a dozen stores open. But many who are old enough to recall the retailer's former glory are finding that the company's current state leaves plenty to be desired.
"I just came in looking for sales. But it's so empty, and there's not a lot to choose from," Sears shopper Tracy Easterling told CNN last November. "Back in the day, you could come in and get most everything you needed in one store," adding that the last remaining New Jersey location where she was perusing appeared to be empty during a busy holiday shopping weekend.
Others pointed out how unfortunate the change has been. "I used to shop here years ago with my great-grandmother," Razeyah Surrell, a Sears customer, told CNN. "I walked in and said, 'Wow, this is sad.'"