Last week, department store chain Macy’s announced its holiday season results and its plans to close 40 stores in the coming months. Shoe retailer Finish Line announced plans to close 150 stores by the year 2020. Yet what you never hear about in the national news anymore is how many stores Sears Holdings, corporate parent of Sears and Kmart, is planning to close, even as they continue to shut down underperforming stores.
Today, Sears Holdings caught the attention of the Los Angeles Times by announcing that multiple Kmart stores in the state of California would be closing. If your local store is staying open (or is long gone) or you don’t run a Google alert on the subject, you might not even realize that the company is closing any stores at all. Yet Sears Holdings has actually shed a lot of stores in the last half-decade, without splashy national announcements that would make non-locals notice.
Their annual report from last year shows that they ended fiscal year 2010 (which ended on January 31, 2011–yeah, finance is weird) with 3,949 stores, and ended fiscal year 2014 with 1,725 stores. Update: a Sears spokesperson clarified that this tally isn’t as dramatic as it seems: 1,238 of those stores that seemed to disappear from the national total in the last five years were actually part of Sears Outlet and Hometown, which were spun off into a separate company back in 2012. Most of those stores are still open, and sell Sears merchandise under different ownership.
There’s nothing wrong with closing stores, or closing them without announcing it nationally. Sears Holdings had too many stores, many of which are too big for its current needs. It’s disruptive and terrible when people lose their jobs, and can be very inconvenient for customers, but closing underperforming stores or giving up a location when the lease is up is how a business survives. (Sometimes not closing stores dooms a business faster: ask Radio Shack.)
The lack of store closing list releases means fewer “Sears is doomed!” stories in the news, which the company would certainly prefer. Yet once we noticed this pattern, we looked through news reports for scheduled closings in 2016.
Sears Holdings only makes this information public to local news outlets, and updates the number of remaining stores in their quarterly reports to shareholders. By putting together those local news reports, we can find most of them: let us know if your local Kmart or Sears has announced plans to close, and we’ll put it on the list.
Last updated: April 14, 2016
|State||Town||Closing Date||Store type|
|AL||Montgomery||June||Sears and Sears Auto Center|
|GA||Rome||March||Sears and Sears Auto Center|
|MI||Fort Gratiot||March||Sears and Sears Auto Center|
|NM||Albuquerque||June||Sears Auto Center closing – Sears store will shrink by 50%|
|NY||Staten Island||February||Sears Auto Center|
|OH||Sandusky||June||Sears and Sears Auto Center|
|OH||Steubenville||June||Sears and Sears Auto Center|
|PA||Monaca||June||Sears and Sears Auto Center|
|PA||Scranton||July||Sears and Sears Auto Center|