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Windward Mall Sears closing on April 28

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Sears will close its Windward Mall store and auto center by the end of the month, a spokesman for the retailer told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The Kaneohe department store will close on April 28 — shortly after the shutdown of the auto center on Wednesday. The Illinois retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Oct. 15, began liquidation sales today.

Employees said they were notified Saturday of the impending closures.

As part of the bankruptcy, Transform Holdco LLC — formed by Eddie Lampert, former CEO and chairman of Sears Holdings Corp. to acquire the company’s assets — “has the right to not acquire various contracts that were entered into by Sears Holdings.”

“Transform Holdco has made the difficult decision not to acquire the current lease for the Sears store and Sears Auto Center in Kaneohe,” said the spokesman, who declined to release the number of workers affected by the closures.

“Those associates that are eligible will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at other area stores.”

The other remaining Sears stores — at Pearlridge Center, Prince Kuhio Plaza in Hilo, Queen Kaahumanu Center in Kahului and an appliance store at Ala Moana Center — will remain open, he said.

The Hawaii stores are among 505 of the company’s most profitable locations to be sold or auctioned off as part of Sears’ bankruptcy. The department store chain has drastically reduced its number of stores in recent years as it struggles to stay relevant in a retail market full of big-box giants — including Walmart, Home Depot and Best Buy — competing for Sears’ core appliance sales.

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