Remaining WNY Sears stores have dodged a bullet - for now

Joann Johnston
June 1, 2018

The Sears store at ShoppingTown Mall in DeWitt is set to close, employees said today.

Sears is closing another 72 stores after reporting first-quarter losses and plunging sales.

The company plans to have a list of stores that will be closing later on Thursday.

Fifteen Kmarts and 48 Sears stores nationwide are slated to close, including a Sears store in Springfield, Ill. Sears Holdings says "eligible associates" will be able to get severance and apply to jobs at other stores.

Sears is closing more stores as the company's sales continue to slide, with revenue falling more than 30%, to $2.9 billion from $4.2 billion, in the most recent quarter. Sears closed another mall department store, at Orlando Fashion Square, in October 2016 and shut down the region's last Kmart store in April.

"While total comparable store sales declined, the Company did experience positive comparable store sales at both Kmart and Sears in several categories, including apparel, footwear and jewelry".

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The 72 stores are among 100 "non-profitable" stores identified by the company, according to its financial disclosures. Sears' troubles include an aging business model and increased competition from dollar stores, home improvement chains, and, of course, Amazon.

One Illinois Kmart, in Rockford, will also close.

The Sears at the Genesee Valley Center mall is among the growing list to close.

The operator of Sears and Kmart stores posted a first-quarter loss of $3.93 a diluted share. On Thursday, its shares plunged by more than 12 percent to $2.81. But Sears has lost about $11 billion since 2012.

Sears has tried to sell those brands and businesses before.

Sears is also exploring the sale of its Kenmore brand. The results from the year-ago quarter included a $492 million benefit related to the sale of Craftsman.

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