This Iconic Chain Is Closing Stores, Starting Tomorrow
This major retailer is slowly getting rid of more locations across the country.
As those of us who once rented our favorite movies at Blockbuster or bought trendy clothes at Delia's know, there are countless stores we loved decades ago that are no longer around today. Once omnipresent retailers shutting their doors for good is nothing new, but the last few years have been especially had on businesses. In 2020, the pandemic forced major retailers like Lord & Taylor and Stein Mart to shut down, and now, record-high inflation is also taking its toll on some of our favorite stores. For one iconic chain, cutting losses means closing several stores this week. Read on to find out which retailer is shuttering locations as soon as tomorrow.
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Many popular retailers have shuttered locations recently.
At some point in their lifespan, most fallen stores were considered hot commodities, but even major retailers have been forced to downsize or close up shop completely. Sometimes these closures are a matter of maintenance: In April and May, Walmart closed a number of "underperforming" stores across the country—despite being considered one of the top retailers in the U.S.
Other companies are engaged in more widespread closures. Earlier this month, major drugstore chain CVS shuttered a few locations around the nation as part of a massive set of closures happening over the course of the next year.
Another iconic chain is starting to close stores this week.
The shutdowns are far from over. Multiple Sears Hometown stores are being closed this week, according to various local reports and social media posts. The first is a location in downtown Edenton, North Carolina, which is being shuttered tomorrow, June 22, The Chowan Herald reported. Then several stores will have their last day on June 23, according to individual Sears Hometown stores' official Facebook pages. This includes locations in Cambridge, Minnesota; Luling, Louisiana; Taos, New Mexico; Keokuk, Iowa; and Green Valley, Arizona.
"Unfortunately we must announce the closing of our Sears Hometown Store," the Sears Team in Luling wrote in a May 18 Facebook post. "It is not a decision that we have made lightly. We have loved all of our time that we have been able to spend with you over these last 10 years."
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Sears is planning to shutter around 100 Hometown stores in the near future.
While these might be the first stores up, they're certainly not the last Sears closures that we'll see. Best Life previously reported in May that several Sears Hometown stores were announcing liquidation sales on their Facebook pages, and many are still posting about liquidating now. All in all, roughly 100 Sears Hometown locations are set to permanently close in the coming weeks, according to a May 31 CNN report. Per the news outlet, that's nearly half of its remaining retail footprint.
Sears' numbers have been dwindling for some time now. In 2019, there were 750 Sears Hometown stores open across the U.S. But by Sept. 2021, there were only around 300 Sears and Kmart stores left in the country, Transformco—the company that bought both retailers in 2018—told USA Today at the time. According to the company, a majority of these 300 locations were Hometown stores, which are "primarily operated by independent dealers or franchisees of an affiliate of Transformco."
The iconic retailer has been slowly disappearing.
Sears' downfall has been a slow burn. After the company started opening retail locations in 1925, Sears worked its way up to becoming the largest retailer in the U.S. in the '80s. Eventually, lagging sales resulted in the company being bought by Kmart in 2004 in an effort to revive both struggling stores. That didn't pan out as planned—and both Sears and Kmart filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018, and then were bought in 2019 by American billionaire and businessman Eddie Lampert, who is both a former Sears CEO and the founder of Transformco.
Despite all of this, in Sept. 2021, Transformco told USA Today that it was "very focused" on the growth of the Sears Home Services business and planning to "continue to expand both Hometown Stores and Home & Life stores in cities and towns that previously had larger format stores." As more and more closures are announced this year, however, the path forward looks a little less certain.
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