Friday, November 3, 2017

Several More Sears and Kmarts Soon Will Shutter

Sears Holdings announced another round of store closures yesterday.  The closures, which will affect 45 Kmart stores and 18 Sears stores nationwide, will occur in late January 2018.  In Georgia, a total of five stores are to close.
Kmart stores on Tom Hill Senior Boulevard in Macon, Virginia Avenue South in Tifton and Cleveland Road in Dalton are all slated for closure.  Sears stores at The Mall at Stonecrest in Lithonia and Valdosta Mall in Valdosta are also to close.  Sears did note, however, that the Sears Auto Centers at select locations, the two in Georgia included, will close in early December. The stores themselves will close in late January 2018.

The Sears at The Mall at Stonecrest is one of the retailer's newest stores, having opened with the mall in 2001. 

Interestingly, on the Wikipedia page for  The Mall at Stonecrest, an un-cited post indicates that Von Maur, an upscale department store based in Davenport, Iowa, is replacing the former Parisian/Kohl's  at the mall.  ToNeTo Atlanta contacted Von Maur's corporate office who indicated they had no knowledge of this store opening.  The management office at The Mall at Stonecrest was also unaware of the plans.  In reality, current plans for the former department store space are for it to be redeveloped as part of a massive sports complex in partnership with Emory Healthcare.  The complex, "Atlanta Sports City," will add 250,000 square feet of restaurants and retail to a redesigned front of the mall, an effort that the project’s team hopes will bring new life to the under-performing mall and the surrounding area along I-20 in southeast DeKalb County.

Liquidation sales at select Sears and Kmart stores will begin as early as November 9. 

The complete list of the 63 stores slated for closure can be found here.   

Sears posted a memo to its website regarding the closure that reads in part, “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. In the process, as previously announced we will  continue 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."

Absent from the list of the closures were Sears stores at Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth, Cumberland Mall in Smyrna, Northlake Mall in Tucker, and North Point Mall in Alpharetta, among others.  

Sears, like many department stores, owns many of their "boxes" or the real estate they occupy in a mall, and in many cases, that real estate is quite valuable.  In a number of cases around the country, Sears and more recently, Macy's and Lord & Taylor have sold their real estate in select locations to generate cash.

In 2015, Sears planned to reduce by half its presence at Cumberland Mall to allow the retailer to lease its upper floor to Kroger.  Sears eventually transferred ownership of its Cumberland Mall store, and others around the country, to Seritage Growth Properties, a REIT it created to spin off select Sears stores.  Soon after this transaction, Seritage cancelled their plans to lease the space to Kroger.   

Recently, ATR Corinth Partners, the firm that ToNeTo Atlanta was first to report had purchased Northlake Mall last year, purchased the Sears property from the retailer.  The firm paid $8.3 million for the property, inclusive of a standalone auto center, according to DeKalb county records.  ToNeTo Atlanta spoke last week with ATR's co-founder Tony Ruggeri who indicated that his firm is seeing progress in their leasing efforts but is not yet in a position to make any announcements.  The Sears will stay open for now but its acquisition by ATR is one less hurdle for the firm to contend with.      

Are you surprised to see Sears keep so many Atlanta area stores open?  When was the last time you made a purchase in Sears or Kmart?  What would you like to open in place of Sears at The Mall at Stonecrest?

Please share your thoughts below. 


Anonymous said...

I personally haven't bout anything form Sears in over 10 years (Kenmore washer & dryer still working well).

Amazon sells Kenmore appliances. However, Kenmore / Whirlpool just recently announced they are parting ways after over a century. Craftsman tools can be bought at Lowe's. What is left to keep this company going another year?

Just saying said...

Sears sucks can't even control cust serv. Bcuz there isn't any

Lenny Axelrod said...

The saying about Von Maur moving into Stonecrest in this article is now gone because the mall manager said no.

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