Dozens More Sears and Kmart Stores to Close in Effort to Boost Profits

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Many Sears and Kmart stores have already been shuttered and dozens more will close this summer. The closures deal a blow to average consumers and many U.S. communities.

Dozens of Sears and Kmart stores closed their doors for good this month. Sears Holdings recently announced it was closing an additional 68 Kmart stores and 10 Sears stores this summer in an effort to “accelerate [Sears Holdings] transformation and its return to profitability.”

“The decision to close stores is a difficult but necessary step,” Sears Holdings Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert said in the statement. “We’re focusing on our best members, our best categories and our best stores as we work to accelerate our transformation.”

But according to The Wall Street Journal, a new study from real estate research firm Green Street Advisors says that Sears Holdings needs to close 300 — or 43 percent — of its stores to recapture the sales per square foot Sears enjoyed in 2006.

Sears isn’t alone. Green Street said JCPenney would need to shutter 320 — or 31 percent — of its stores to regain its pre-recession efficiency.

“Department stores used to be a great catchall for different brands, but today many of the brands have stores of their own, and shoppers can also find them online,” DJ Busch, a senior Green Street analyst, told the Journal.

When you consider the changing dynamics of retailing, it may be unrealistic to think that department stores like Sears can ever go back to the sales or profit levels they enjoyed in the past.

If you don’t live in a community facing the impending closure of well-known retail store like Kmart or Sears — and the inevitable loss of jobs and tax revenue that go with it — you may be wondering why you should care about the shuttered stores.

The editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that the most recent Kmart and Sears store closure announcement is not just another blow to the average American consumer, it’s also representative of a broader decline.

Sears and Kmart are not alone. Macy’s and J.C. Penney have closed stores, too, and other well-known chains went out of business years ago. … Kmart, Sears and other chains of their type provide choice and competition that benefit the middle class (although online sales represent a new kind of choice). The presence of these stores gives some stability to communities that host them.

I live in a small community that has very few shopping options, but both Kmart and Sears are among my town’s short list of retailers. We shop at both stores on a fairly regular basis.

Each time a new list of store closures is announced, I’m afraid my local stores will be on it, but so far we’ve been lucky. Losing just one business in my small town is always a huge blow.

Do you live in a community that’s been impacted by big store closures? Share your experiences below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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