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More than 100 Kmart, Sears stores expected to close nationwide

No word yet on whether local Sears, Kmart branches will close

December 27, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com

More than 100 Kmart and Sears department store branches are expected to close nationwide, their parent company announced Tuesday, without specifying which branches would close or when.

Both store chains have local branches in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Sears Holdings Corp., which owns Sears and Kmart, announced the closings as part of a quarterly business report.

Year-to-date sales are down 1.8 percent for Kmart and 3.3 percent for Sears Domestic, according to a company news release about the report.

Comparing the most recent quarter to the same period last year, Kmart was down 4.4 percent and Sears Domestic was down 6.0 percent, the release said.

The company attributed Kmart’s decline to “decreases in the consumer electronics and apparel categories, and lower layaway sales.”

For Sears, the sales decline “was primarily driven by the consumer electronics and home-appliance categories,” the release said.

One specific plan for turning around the slide is to close 100 to 120 Kmart and Sears stores, the company said.

“We expect these store closures to generate $140 (million) to $170 million of cash as the net inventory in these stores is sold and we expect to generate additional cash proceeds from the sale or sublease of the related real estate,” the release said.

Sears Holdings Corp. said it has not decided which stores will close.

A public-relations phone number for Sears Holdings Corp. had an answering-machine message directing the media to the company’s news release and said no other specifics were available.

Sears Holdings Corp. has more than 4,000 stores in the United States and Canada, according to the company.

In May, Sears Holdings Corp. said it planned to close the Sears branch in Martinsburg Mall in Martinsburg, W.Va., by mid-August. A list released later put the closing date at Sept. 8.

Sears Holdings Corp. spokeswoman Kimberly Freely said at the time that the closing was “for business reasons.”

The store had 57 employees, Freely said at the time.

Other Sears branches in the Tri-State area are at Valley Mall in Halfway, Chambersburg Mall in Chambersburg, Pa., and Francis Scott Key Mall in Frederick, Md., according to the company’s website.

A Sears Hometown Store is in Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

In the Tri-State area, Kmart has branches in Halfway, Waynesboro, Pa., Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Martinsburg and Frederick.

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