Sears Holding Corporation is an American holding company headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. It is the owner of retail store brands Sears and Kmart. The Corporation was founded in 2005 when Sears and Kmart merged. Last week, Sears Holding Corp. announced it would close 150 stores that included 109 Kmart stores and 41 of its namesake Sears outlets. The newly announced 150 store closures bring the total recent total closure to over 400 with 78 stores closed in 2016 and more than 200 in 2015. Among these are the Kmart located at 300 Highway 78 East in Jasper, Alabama and the Sears located at 301 Cox Creek Parkway in Florence, Alabama.
With a world now dominated by Amazon, where purchases are made with a click of the finger and delivered to your doorstep, it is a major sign of how tough it is for the former kings of the retail industry to compete. Sears CEO Edward Lampert admitted as much in a statement that the company was “taking strong, decisive actions…to stabilize the company and improve our financial flexibility in what remains a challenging retail environment.”
This news follows disappointing holiday results from other retail stores such as Macy’s and Kohl’s which both announced closures as well. In all, combined between Kohl’s, Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Dillard’s and Sears Holdings, the total closures since 2013 exceed 700. That is close to 20% of those companies’ store count.
Sears Holdings noted that while the 150 stores collectively reported sales of $1.2 Billion over the past 12 months, they also lost about $60 million. Lampert additionally noted that “Many of the stores have struggled with their financial performance for years and we have kept them open to maintain local jobs and in the hopes that they would turn around.” Lampert also said, “The decision to close the stores is a difficult but necessary step as we take actions to strengthen the company’s operations and fund its transformation”.
Sears Holdings did not say how many workers would be affected by the store closures, but that they would receive severance payments and also have the opportunity to apply for positions at other Sears and Kmart stores in their area.
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Grant McNutt is a Managing Attorney at the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Florence and Haleyville, Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama, and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. He has been practicing Consumer Bankruptcy Law since 1999.Read his full bio here.