From the COVID-19 pandemic to the gradual changes brought on by e-commerce, the retail world has been a rapidly changing environment in recent years. While some major companies are thriving and adding new stores to their rosters, others are seeing their footprints shrink as business slows. Now, one iconic retailer appears to be closing more than 70 stores in the coming days. Read on to see which store could soon be vanishing from your area.
It’s no secret that the past two years have forced retailers of all sizes to reconsider their business models. As more shoppers head online, many operators are choosing to shrink their number of physical storefronts to streamline finances or refocus on new areas of demand.
In March, fashion retailer H&M announced that it would be permanently closing 240 stores by the end of this year, Yahoo Finance reported. On April 14, drugstore chain Rite Aid announced that it would be shuttering 145 locations before 2023, saying it was getting rid of “unprofitable stores” to help “significantly reduce costs” for the company. And even the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, announced a cluster of store closings over May, shutting five locations across Kentucky, Ohio, Washington, and Connecticut.
“These are never easy decisions, but actively managing our portfolio is essential to maintaining a healthy business. This is done on a case-by-case basis and only after a careful and thorough review,” Walmart spokesman Brian Little told the Louisville Courier-Journal about the closures.
But while some retailers are announcing closures that are part of a restructuring or a new strategy, others appear to be in more dire straits—including once prolific stores. Now, it appears that more than 70 Sears Hometown stores will be closing in the coming days as dozens of locations announce liquidation sales across the U.S., Axios reports.
The new closures are just the latest chapter in what appears to be the iconic retailer’s final days. After launching in 1892 as a mail-order catalog, Sears began opening retail locations in 1925 to eventually become the largest retailer in the U.S. in the 1980s. However, after years of lagging sales, the company was purchased by Kmart in 2004 in an effort to improve the trajectory of both stores. Instead, the retailers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018 before being purchased by venture capitalist and previous CEO Eddie Lampert the following year. Since then, Sears has seen its locations continue to close, shrinking to just 36 stores by the end of 2021, according to Forbes.
In a statement to USA Today in Sept. 2021, current parent company Transformco said that its “go-forward store strategy for Sears and Kmart is to operate a diversified portfolio consisting of a small number of larger, premier stores with a larger number of small-format stores.” The company said this included the more than 300 Hometown Stores that were open at the time, which are “primarily operated by independent dealers or franchisees of an affiliate of Transformco.”
While there has been no official announcement from Transformco, Sears Hometown locations around the country have taken to social media to announce their imminent shuttering. Notably, the store locator tool on the company’s website was not providing up-to-date information as of May 26, with Axios advising Sears Hometown shoppers to call their local store or check their Facebook page to verify the location was still open.
“Very sad to announce, but our Sears Hometown store at 126 Buchanan Street N in Cambridge MN is closing. Everything on the floor must go!!” one Minnesota location posted on its Facebook page, per Axios.
Another soon-to-be-shuttered location in Luling, Louisiana, posted, “Unfortunately we must announce the closing of our Sears Hometown Store. It is not a decision that we have made lightly. We have loved all of our time that we have been able to spend with you over these last ten years. Our last day that we are open is June 23, 2022.”