Walnutport Kmart not on the chopping block
Sears Holdings Company has announced its first round of store closings and the Walnutport Kmart isn't on the list.
Sears stores in Whitehall and Frackville also will remain open, as will its portrait studio at the Laurel Mall in Hazleton.
Yesterday Sears announced the closing of 79 stores nationwide - Sears and Kmart combined. A second round of store closings will be announced in the near future.
Earlier this week, Sears said it could close up to 120 stores.
The only Pennsylvania stores on yesterday's list are in Upper Darby and Pottstown.
Sears announced regarding the list, "This list represents 79 of the 100 to 120 store closings that were announced in the Dec. 27, 2011 Sears Holdings press release. Additional updates will be posted to www.searsmedia.com. as they become available."
It adds, "Employment varies by store and format and at this time we cannot provide the total number of impacted associates. However, a typical store that is being closed employs between 40 and 80 associates."
In August, Sears had announced some Kmart and Sears specialty store closings. Pennsylvania stores closed were a product repair center in Langhorne. In the fourth quarter of 2010, a Sears Auto Center on Linden Street, Bethlehem, was closed.
"Given our performance and the difficult economic environment, especially for big-ticket items, we intend to implement a series of actions to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model. These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail - at the store, online and in the home," said Chief Executive Officer Lou D'Ambrosio. Specific actions which we plan to take include:
• Close 100 to 120 Kmart and Sears Full-line stores. We expect these store closures to generate $140 to $170 million of cash as the net inventory in these stores is sold and we expect to generate additional cash proceeds from the sale or sublease of the related real estate. Further, we intend to optimize the space allocation based on category performance in certain stores. Final determination of the stores to be closed has not yet been made. The list of stores closing will be posted at www.searsmedia.com when final determination is made.
• Excluding the effect of store closures, we currently expect to reduce 2012 peak domestic inventory by $300 million from the 2011 level of $10.2 billion at the end of the third quarter as a result of cost decreases in apparel, tighter buys and a lower inventory position at the beginning of the fiscal year.
• Focus on improving gross profit dollars through better inventory management and more targeted pricing and promotion.
• Reduce our fixed costs by $100 to $200 million.
Sears added in its press release, "In addition to the specific store closures listed above, we will carefully evaluate store performance going forward and act opportunistically to recognize value from poor performing stores as circumstances allow. While our past practice has been to keep marginally performing stores open while we worked to improve their performance, we no longer believe that to be the appropriate action in this environment. We intend to accentuate our focus and resources to our better performing stores with the goal of converting their customer experience into a world-class integrated retail experience.
"We currently expect the store closure and inventory reduction actions to reduce peak inventory in 2012 by $500 to $580 million and reduce our peak borrowing need by $300 to $350 million in 2012 from levels that may have resulted in 2012 without such actions."