TEXAS TOWNSHIP—The local Kmart, prominent feature at the west-most end of the Route 6 mall for over 20 years and a local retail outlet since 1976, is scheduled to close its doors in early April as one of 64 Kmart and 39 Sears stores to shutdown nationwide this spring.
According to a Sears press release issued Jan. 4, “Sears Holdings continues its strategic assessment of the productivity of our Kmart and Sears store base and will continue to right size our store footprint in number and size.”
Part of this process includes continuing “... to close some unprofitable stores as we transform our business model so that our physical store footprint and our digital capabilities match the needs and preferences of our members.”
Liquidation sales for the closing stores, including the local facility, are expected to begin as early as January 12.
“Eligible associates impacted by these store closures will receive severance and will have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Kmart or Sears stores,” states the release.
Commenting on the store's closure, Texas Township Board of Supervisors Chairman Don Doney stated, “As a Township Supervisor and a resident, I hate to see it go.”
Doney noted the store functioned at one point as the preeminent retailer in the area.
“I'm sure a lot of people will be sad to see it go,” he said.
According to published reports, this round of closures is the second time that Sears chose to close unprofitable stores sold in 2015 to Seritage Growth Properties – a real estate investment trust spun off from Sears by the retail company's CEO Eddie Lampert.
The last round saw the Sears location in Dickson City's Viewmont Mall shut its doors for good in 2016.
Efforts to increase the company's financial flexibility involve release of 138 Sears Holdings properties from a ring-fence agreement with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PGBC), facilitating $407 million to be paid into the company's pension plans and for corporate purposes.
According to a Sears release, this will free the company from having to make further pension payments for two years.
Additionally, Sears stock fell 4.5 percent on Thursday afternoon and has dropped close to 60 percent over the last year, published reports say.
According to Sears 2017 third-quarter sales reports, published on November 30, 2017, the company reported a net loss of $558 million, an improvement of $190 million over the third quarter report for 2016.
2017 Third quarter reports show revenue generation of $3.7 billion, $1.3 billion less than the $5 billion reported for the prior year quarter, “with store closures contributing to over half of the decline,” states Sears' release.
Other local stores facing closure are the Kmarts in Moosic, Pittston Township, and in the Laurel Mall in Hazle Township.
Kmart locations in Wilkes-Barre Township and Edwardsville remain open.
—Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.
—Information from a press release was used in this story.