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Nearly 80 Sears, Kmart stores to close by summer

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    The former Kmart at 500 N. Nimitz Highway in Iwilei is seen in January.

CHICAGO » Sears Holdings is closing 68 Kmart and 10 Sears stores this summer, two months after announcing it was accelerating plans to shutter unprofitable locations.

Hawaii’s first Kmart store at 500 N. Nimitz Highway, which opened to much fanfare in 1992, closed in late March.

Sears expects the liquidated inventory and sale or sublease of store real estate to generate “a meaningful level of cash,” the retailer said today.

The company, based in suburban Chicago, did not say how many employees would be affected but said eligible associates would receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at other stores. Most of the jobs are part-time positions, said Sears spokesman Howard Riefs.

Sears previously said it planned to cut costs by $550 million to $650 million in 2016, following cuts of between $765 million and $790 million in 2015. The company also said it raised more than $1.2 billion in debt financing earlier this month and “believes it has taken important steps toward its primary 2016 objective to restore profitability.”

In 2015, sales at stores open at least a year fell about 9.2 percent compared with 2014, including a 7.3 percent drop at Kmart and 11.1 percent drop at Sears locations.

The 78 closures will leave about 1,500 Sears and Kmart stores, Riefs said.

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©2016 Chicago Tribune

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  • Sad! The low-income and homeless will affect be affected the most in that they may not have the means to shop on-line which the bane to these big shopping mall emporiums. On-line shopping has changed tremendously how we purchase goods and services. The poor do not have the credit abilities and for the homeless a viable address where merchandise may be delivered. They will be most inconvenienced since they will have travel greater distances instead in the neighborhood.

    • Maybe true, the report I saw on CNBC was that they couldn’t compete with Walmart which has a better selection and better prices and better locations. Having said that, wouldn’t it be great if the State of Hawaii would announce cost cutting measures and eliminate needless duplication–pipe dream!!

    • Actually I thought the homeless would shop more at goodwill and the salvation army more than Kmart. I saw more of them using the Kmart parking lot to sleep, not shop.

  • Sear’s and KMart prices are higher than Target and Walmart, and the quality of the products they sell are sub par too. With their stores in close distance to their competitors, they will continue to lose customers as long as they don’t have much incentive to shop at those places. Sears and Kmart customer service is lacking big time too, especially for their automotive department.

    • I agree, after continually getting ripped off by Sears automotive I never went back to them for auto services. They have themselves to blame for that, they should have worked on better quality and customer service but instead ignored customer complaints and lost customers because of that.

      • Sears needs to take a closer look at their customer service as their workers are destroying their company. My personal experience with this company as a consumer were not good. When I went to the automotive service to get a routine work done I ended up waiting for a very long time. Then I heard an irate customer demanding what was taking them so long to change the oil I knew this business was in trouble. And when I stepped out to get some fresh air I was treated to a Sears automotive technician talking loudly to a concession worker about how he hated his job. Very unprofessional. I’ve even had problems with buying appliance from Sears. They use Island Movers to deliver their goods and these workers basically caused damage to my home while delivering the appliances. And when the Sears repairman came to look at the damaged new refrigerator he failed to input the address correctly which caused problems when the parts were shipped to my home. It is obvious that Sears needs to do major overhaul as I’m sure that their brand name has taken a major hit from their terrible customer service.

  • Free enterprise is, of course, not free … but it is competitive and the market place [consumers] continue to choose Costco and Ross’s [stock is up] discount format over some of the more traditional stores. Change is inevitable … it always happens. Smart retailers can capitalize of these shifts. And to the end game … hold’m or fold’m.

    • Yes, too bad, I like the Kenmore washers and fridge/freezers. I visited their warehouse store to pick up my stuff, hope that they will still be around when I need a new appliance. I also liked their tool section, too bad they couldn’t evolve like Walmart did because we do need the competition to keep prices down.

  • I like Sears at Pearl Ridge, especially their appliance and tool sections.
    Kmart, however, is another story. I can see Kmart closing at Kapolei because of the competition from nearby Target and Costco.

    • Strange that Wal Mart is still doing so well and has a store right on keeaumoku and one downtown, yet Sears and Kmart closed their downtown stores. Now if you want something from Kmart or Sears you have to go to Pearlridge or the stadium or farther out, they lost a lot of customers by making it harder for people downtown and living on the east side to get to their store, most of us won’t go out of our way to drive out to that side to go to Kmart or Sears.

  • Bought a refrigerator there and it has been a nightmare. The same with the dishwasher. We will never go back. Years ago, we bought everything at Sear’s.

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