Maine Stores Spared In Latest Round Of Sears, Kmart Closings

Jun 1, 2018

Sears Holdings, the suburban Chicago-based entity that controls Sears and Kmart, has spared its stores in Maine from closing after announcing this morning it would close 72 additional stores.

On Thursday, the company released a list of stores targeted for closure in early September. A Sears Holdings spokesman said the number of employees affected by the closures is not available.

The Sears store at the Bangor Mall in April was one of 100 Sears and Kmart stores hit by an earlier round of closures announced by Sears Holdings in January. It closed in mid-April. However, the Sears Auto Center at the Bangor Mall remains open.

Last year, Sears Holdings closed a Sears on Whitten Road in Augusta and a Kmart in Bangor.

Sears still has stores at the Maine Mall in South Portland, at Cook’s Corner in Brunswick, and in Farmington and Caribou. Kmart has locations at the Auburn Mall, Augusta Plaza, Elm Plaza in Waterville and in Madawaska.

Thursday morning the company reported profit and revenue losses during the first quarter of 2018, which ended May 5. The net loss of $424 million compared to net income of $245 million during the first quarter of 2017. Revenues for the quarter were $2.9 billion compared to $4.2 billion in the first quarter of 2017.

Sales at both the Sears and Kmart stores were down for the quarter compared to last year’s first quarter. However, the company said sales of apparel, footwear and jewelry rose.

The company said in a news release that it will continue to streamline operations and focus on its best stores. It identified about 100 unprofitable stores, 72 of which will start store closing sales soon.

The company said it is continuing to evaluate its network of stores and make further adjustments if needed.

“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,” Edward S. Lampert, chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings, said in a prepared statement.

The company announced on May 14 that it had formed a special committee of independent directors on its board to explore the sale of the Kenmore brand and its assets, the Sears Home Improvement Products business and the PartsDirect business of Sears Home Services.

The committee also is continuing to evaluate a letter dated April 20 from ESL Investments Inc., which expressed interest in buying all or part of those assets for sale. Sears CEO Lampert also is founder and CEO of ESL, a hedge fund based in Greenwich, Connecticut.

ESL also has a significant investment in Seritage Growth Properties, a real estate investment trust that in 2015 bought 265 Sears and Kmart stores, and then leased them back to Sears, according to USA Today. Those stores included the Chicago Sears, which is slated to be closed in mid-July.

This story appears through a media sharing agreement with Bangor Daily News.