Visalia department stores escape budget ax again

Another 48 Sears and 15 Kmart stores will close by this September; third round of cuts for company in 3 years


HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILL. – Visalia department stores have staved another round of closures. On May 31, Sears Holding Corporation announced it will close 15 Kmart stores and 48 Sears stores nationwide as part of its ongoing efforts to “streamline the company’s operations and focus on our Best Stores.” Luckily, neither the Kmart nor Sears in Visalia made the list of the 100 lowest performing stores for the two retailers. The only California locations listed for closure include a Kmart in Ridgecrest and a Sears in the City of Industry. 

That same day, the company informed the affected employees that those stores will be closing by early September 2018. 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. 

Customers can use the store locator function on our web sites to find the location of their nearest Kmart and Sears stores. Liquidation sales will begin as early as June 14 at these closing stores. 

Sears Holding Corporation originally identified 100-non-profitable stores and then narrowed the list to 72. The company then narrowed the list to the 63 stores listed and said it is re-evaluating nine of those stores.

“We continue to evaluate our network of stores, which are a critical component in our transformation, and will make further adjustments as needed and as warranted,” the company said in a released statement. 

The closures were announced the same day as Sears Holdings Corporation’s financials for the first quarter of 2018, which ended on May 5, 2018, showed a net loss of $424 million. That compared to net gain of $245 million from the first quarter of 2017 fueled by the $492 million sale of its Craftsman brand.

Total revenues were down from $4.2 billion to $3.9 billion primarily due to store closures announced last year. On Jan. 5, 2017 the corporation announced the closing of 78 Kmart and 26 Sears locations nationwide in addition to the 30 Kmart and 16 Sears store closures announced on Dec. 27, 2016. Total comparable store sales declined 11.9% during the quarter, comprised of a 9.5% decline at Kmart and a 13.4% decline at Sears. 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.

“In a challenging quarter, we continued to focus on our strategic transformation, identifying additional opportunities to streamline operations and adjust inventory and operating expenses while staying focused on our Best Members, Best Categories and Best Stores,” said Sears chairman and CEO Edward S. Lampert. “As we look to the remainder of 2018 and beyond, we remain committed to restoring positive adjusted [earnings] and will continue to explore opportunities to unlock the full potential of our assets for our shareholders. This includes exploring third-party partnerships involving several of our businesses – such as Sears Home Services, Innovel, Kenmore and DieHard – and gaining further momentum around our new smaller store formats that blend brick and mortar and online experiences. We believe these initiatives, among others, will help us to strengthen the company and better position it for the future.”

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