Some Valley Sears, Kmart stores to close amid bankruptcy

Business
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Sears, the once-dominant retail chain that changed how Americans shopped and lived, has filed for bankruptcy. Among the 142 new closings announced, several are in the Central Valley.

The Sears stores in Bakersfield, Modesto and Merced are set to close, and the Kmart stores in Modesto, Delano, Visalia, and Lemoore are also on the list of “unprofitable stores” that are shuttering.

The 132-year-old company has been struggling for several years and is drowning in debt. The final straw was a $134 million debt payment due Monday that it could not afford.

Sears Holdings (SHLD), the parent company of Sears and Kmart, is among dozens of prominent retailers to declare bankruptcy in the era of Amazon (AMZN).

The filing in federal bankruptcy court in New York came in the early hours of Monday morning. The company issued a statement saying it intends to stay in business, keeping open stores that are profitable, along with the Sears and Kmart websites.

As of the filing, about 700 stores remained open and the company employed 68,000 workers. That’s down from 1,000 stores with 89,000 employees that it had as recently as February.

But Sears said that it’s looking for a buyer for a large number of its remaining stores, and it will close at least 142 stores near the end of this year. That’s in addition to the 46 store closings already planned for next month. The company did not rule out additional store closings as the bankruptcy process proceeds.

Eddie Lampert, the company’s chairman and largest shareholder, gave up the title of CEO. The company will now be run by three of the company’s top executives.

For years, Lampert has claimed the company was making progress to end its years of ongoing losses.

“While we have made progress, the plan has yet to deliver the results we have desired,” Lampert said in a statement Monday. He said the bankruptcy process would allow the company to shed debt and costs and “become a profitable and more competitive retailer.”

Although retailers typically file for bankruptcy with the intention of staying in business, many end up going bust after filing. In recent years, Toys “R” Us, RadioShack and Sports Authority have followed that path to the graveyard.

The upcoming holiday season will be a particular challenge for Sears. It will need to do better than last year. While other traditional retailers enjoyed strong holiday sales, Sears and Kmart both reported sharp drops.

The full list:

Kmart:

  • 3955 S W Murray Blvd Beaverton, OR 97005-2316
  • 2530 S Euclid Ave Ontario, CA 91762-6619
  • 3968-A Missouri Flat Road Placerville, CA 95667-5240
  • 3205 Lincoln Hwy Thorndale, PA 19372-1012
  • 4500 Western Blvd Raleigh, NC 27606-1814
  • 111 Hulst Dr, Ste 722 Matamoras, PA 18336-2115
  • 2712 W Main St Waynesboro, VA 22980-1618
  • 8363 Lewiston Road Batavia, NY 14020-1236
  • 4210 N Harlem Ave Norridge, IL 60706-1277
  • 880 Butler Street Pittsburgh, PA 15223-1319
  • 6780 W Washington St Indianapolis, IN 46241-2999
  • 1351 E Hatch Rd Modesto, CA 95351-5010
  • 7836 State Ave Kansas City, KS 66112-2
  • 1001 Patton Ave Asheville, NC 28806-3643
  • 375 E Alessandro Blvd Riverside, CA 92508-2463
  • 6163 Oxon Hill Road Oxon Hill, MD 20745-3108
  • 349 Orchard Park Rd West Seneca, NY 14224-2634
  • 2307 Superior Webster City, IA 50595-3165
  • 912 County Line Rd Delano, CA 93215-3823
  • 1180 Walnut Bottom Rd Carlisle, PA 17013-9160
  • 5000 23Rd Ave Moline, IL 61265-4599
  • 2803 E Kanesville Blvd Council Bluffs, IA 51503-1004
  • 4000 East 2Nd Street Casper, WY 82609-2385
  • 2302 Cherry Rd Rock Hill, SC 29732-2165
  • 417 Main Street Madawaska, ME 04756-1197
  • 1701 4Th Ave W Charleston, WV 25387-2415
  • 2821 East Main St Russellville, AR 72801-9801
  • 1 Flower Valley Shp Ctr Florissant, MO 63033-1644
  • 100 Tarentum Rd New Kensington, PA 15068-4670
  • 3247 W Noble Ave Visalia, CA 93277-1841
  • 349 Orchard Park Rd West Seneca, NY 14224-2634
  • 93 West Campbell Rd Schenectady, NY 12306-6800
  • 900 N W 76 Boulevard Gainesville, FL 32606-6747
  • 2901-5 N Belt Hwy St. Joseph, MO 64506-2006
  • 129 West Butler Avenue Mauldin, SC 29662-2534
  • 2590 Military Rd Niagara Falls, NY 14304-1506
  • 6909 Maynardville Pike Ne Knoxville, TN 37918-5325
  • 7100 Nw Prairie View Rd Kansas City, MO 64151-1630
  • 6364 Springfield Plaza Springfield, VA 22150-3431
  • 17840 Bagley Rd Middleburg Heights, OH 44130-3401
  • 215 W Hanford/Armona Rd Lemoore, CA 93245-2302
  • 400 Crosstown Road Peachtree City, GA 30269-2915
  • 6239 Turner Lake Road Covington, GA 30014-2064
  • 1530 East Broad Street Statesville, NC 28625-4302
  • 12350 Sw 8Th Street Miami, FL 33184-1510
  • 779 Delsea Dr N Glassboro, NJ 08028-1435
  • 1025 M-24 Lake Orion, MI 48360-1429
  • 987 Route 6 Mahopac, NY 10541-1709
  • 1001 E Sunset Drive Bellingham, WA 98226-3510
  • 723 3Rd Ave Jasper, IN 47546-3639
  • 1170 Mae Street Hummelstown, PA 17036-9185
  • Northridge S/C Us Hwy 127 Russell Springs, KY 42642-4559
  • 720 Clairton Blvd/Rte 51 Pleasant Hills, PA 15236-4517
  • 15891 State Rt 170 East Liverpool, OH 43920-9633
  • 3701 Broadway St Quincy, IL 62301-3721
  • 528 W Plank Road Altoona, PA 16602-2802
  • 06600 M-66 North Charlevoix, MI 49720-9505
  • 600 C W Stevens Blvd Grayson, KY 41143-1190
  • 430 W Ridge Rd Griffith, IN 46319-1095
  • 118 Waller Mill Rd Williamsburg, VA 23185-2946
  • 1111 N 2Nd Cherokee, IA 51012-1287
  • 1502 South Fourth St Allentown, PA 18103-4949
  • 400 South Broadway Salina, KS 67401-4005
  • 7000 Veterans Memorial Metairie, LA 70003-4497
  • 1000 Nutt Rd Phoenixville, PA 19460-2200

Sears:

  • 703 N Berkeley Blvd Goldsboro, NC 27534-3444
  • 11033 Carolina Place Pkwy Pineville, NC 28134-8370
  • 3401 S Us Highway 41 Terre Haute, IN 47802-4154
  • 400 N Center St Westminster, MD 21157-5140
  • Rt 394 & Hunt Blvd Lakewood, NY 14750-
  • 1235 Worcester Rd & Natick, MA 01760-
  • 12431 Wayzata Blvd Minnetonka, MN 55305-1925
  • 10300 Little Patuxent Pkwy Columbia, MD 21044-3341
  • 3001 Ming Ave Bakersfield, CA 93304-4145
  • 2100 Hamilton Place Blvd Chattanooga, TN 37421-6006
  • 400 Cross Creek Mall Fayetteville, NC 28303-7244
  • 1001 Rainbow Dr Gadsden, AL 35901-5376
  • 5522 Shaffer Rd Ste 129 Dubois, PA 15801-3304
  • 701 Se Wyoming Blvd Casper, WY 82609-4213
  • 2625 Scottsville Rd Bowling Green, KY 42104-4477
  • 3201 W Main St Norman, OK 73072-4847
  • 6600 Menaul Blvd Ne Ste 700 Coronado, NM 87110-3447
  • 4807 Outer Loop Louisville-Okolona, KY 40219-3200
  • 2605 Preston Rd Frisco, TX 75034-9434
  • 2801 Wilma Rudolph Blvd Clarksville, TN 37040-5011
  • 2002 S Expy 83 Harlingen, TX 78552
  • 1401 N Montebello Blvd Montebello, CA 90640-2584
  • 827 Lancaster Dr Ne Salem(Lancaster), OR 97301-2929
  • 2300 E Lincoln Hwy Langhrn/Oxford Vly, PA 19047-1824
  • 5320 Youngstown Rd Niles, OH 44446
  • 9520 Mall Rd Westover/Morgantown, WV 26501-8524
  • 100 Los Cerritos Mall Cerritos, CA 90703-5421
  • 9800 Sw Washington Square Rd Washington Sq, OR 97223-4455
  • 1750 Deptford Center Rd Deptford, NJ 08096-5282
  • 3177 Chandler Village Dr Chandler, AZ 85226
  • 6002 Slide Rd Lubbock, TX 79414-8555
  • 1000 E 41St Austin, TX 78751-4859
  • 100 Vintage Faire Mall Modesto, CA 95356-0559
  • 100 Neshaminy Mall Bensalem/Crnwls Hts, PA 19020-1607
  • 7001 S University Blvd Centennial, CO 80122-1599
  • 50 Fox Run Rd Ste 74 Portsmouth, NH 03801-2858
  • 3751 S Dogwood Ave El Centro, CA 92243
  • 1500 Highway 35 Middletown, NJ 07748-1831
  • 6301 Nw Loop 410 Ingram, TX 78238-3824
  • 3340 Mall Loop Dr Joliet, IL 60431-1057
  • 10785 W Colfax Ave Lakewood, CO 80215-3807
  • 425 Rice St St Paul, MN 55103-2123
  • 850 Hartford Tnpk Waterford, CT 06385
  • 7611 W Thomas Rd Phoenix-Desert Sky, AZ 85033-5433
  • 15700 Emerald Way Bowie, MD 20716-2200
  • 2800 N Germantown Prkway Cordova, TN 38133
  • 2100 Southfield Rd Lincoln Park, MI 48146-2250
  • 1050 S Babcock St Melbourne, FL 32901-3022
  • 6515 E Southern Ave Mesa/East, AZ 85206-3711
  • 733 N Highway 231 Panama City, FL 32405-5302
  • 460 N Milwaukee St Boise, ID 83704-9122
  • 100 Newmarket Fair Mall Hampton, VA 23605-1406
  • 3100 Sw College Rd Ste 300 Ocala, FL 34474-8449
  • 3450 W Camp Wisdom Rd Southwest Ctr, TX 75237-2504
  • 600 Lee Blvd Yorktown Hts, NY 10598-1142
  • 1011 W Olive Ave Merced, CA 95348-2422
  • 5901 Florin Rd Florin, CA 95823-2302
  • 3150 S 4Th Ave Yuma, AZ 85364-8104
  • 2250 El Mercado Loop Sierra Vista, AZ 85635-5204
  • 3800 Us Highway 98 N Ste 500 Lakeland, FL 33809-3824
  • 303 Us Hwy 301 Blvd W Bradenton, FL 34205-7991
  • 2501 Irving Mall Irving, TX 75062-5161
  • 1251 Us Highway 31 N Greenwood, IN 46142-4503
  • 1700 Stoneridge Dr Pleasanton, CA 94588
  • 100 Santa Rosa Plz Santa Rosa, CA 95401-638
  • 6929 S Memorial Dr Tulsa Woodland Hls, OK 74133-2035
  • 900 Briarwood Cir Ann Arbor, MI 48108-1618
  • 75 W Route 59 Ste 100 Nanuet, NY 10954-2701
  • 1111 Franklin Ave Garden City, NY 11530-1617
  • 3333 Bristol St Costa Mesa, CA 92626-1811
  • 3500 S Meridian Ste 900 Puyallup, WA 98373-3722
  • 900 Briarwood Cir Ann Arbor, MI 48108-1618
  • 1201 Boston Post Rd Sp 2095 Milford, CT 06460
  • 7508 N Navarro St Victoria, TX 77904-2654
  • 2901 S Capitol Of Texas Hwy Austin/Barton Creek, TX 78746-8101
  • 7600H Kingston Pike West Town, TN 37919-5604
  • 1245 W Warm Springs Rd Henderson, NV 89014-8740

Sears’ problems go back decades

Sears fell out of shoppers’ favor over the past decades as online stores and big box rivals, including Walmart (WMT) and Home Depot (HD), beat Sears on price and convenience.

But many of Sears’ problems were self-inflicted. Its management tried to compete by closing stores and cutting costs. It slashed spending on advertising and it failed to invest in the upkeep and modernization of its outlets. Sears and Kmart stores grew barren and rundown.

Sales declined. Losses piled up in the billions of dollars. Debt mounted, and the company’s cash reserves disappeared. Sears sold many of its most valuable assets, including its massive real estate footprint, to raise the cash it needed to survive. According to the bankruptcy filing, the company was losing about $125,000 a month.

It ditched Lands End in 2014. Three years later, Sears dumped the Craftsman brand, which it had sold exclusively. The company has been looking for a buyer for its Kenmore brand of appliances for years. The only acquirer it could find was Lampert, who offered $400 million for Kenmore through his hedge fund. The Sears board never accepted the offer.

By last month, Sears’ market value had fallen below $100 million, less than quarter of the value of Kenmore itself.

The retailer’s problems have mounted in recent years. Sears warned investors last year there was “substantial doubt” it would be able to stay in business. It has lost $11.7 billion since 2010, its last profitable year. Sales have plunged 60% since then. The company shuttered more than 2,800 stores over the past 13 years.

With the writing on the wall that a bankruptcy was imminent, suppliers demanded Sears pay cash up front for the items in its stores, putting it at an even greater competitive disadvantage with other retailers.

Whirlpool, (WHR) which had started in business more than a century ago selling its appliances at Sears, pulled its various brands out of Sears and Kmart stores last year. Once the dominant appliance retailer in the country, Sears accounted for only 3% of Whirlpool’s sales worldwide in 2017.

In September, Lampert proposed that Sears restructure its finances without filing bankruptcy. But he warned that the company was running out of cash. The company’s stock quickly fell below $1 a share for the first time in its history.

Creditors opted instead to try their hand in bankruptcy court. Without a deal and with $134 million in debt payments due Monday, Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The brand that shaped a nation

Sears was once the nation’s largest retailer and its largest employer. In its heyday, it was both the Walmart and Amazon of its time.

Formed in 1886 by railroad station agent Richard Sears, the company started as a watch business in North Redwood, Minnesota. Sears moved to Chicago in 1887, and he hired watchmaker Alvah Roebuck as his partner. The first Sears Roebuck catalog, which sold watches and jewelry, was printed in 1896.

The Sears catalog was the way many Americans first started to buy mass-produced goods. That was an enormous shift for people who lived on farms and in small towns and made many of the goods they needed on their own, including clothes and furniture.

Sears’ stores helped reshape America, drawing shoppers away from the traditional Main Street merchants. Sears brought people into malls, contributing to the suburbanization of America in the post-World War II era. Its Kenmore appliances introduced many American homes to labor-saving devices that changed family dynamics. Its Craftsman tools and their lifetime guarantees were a mainstay of middle-class America.

Sears truly changed America.

But long before the rise of Amazon and online shopping, Sears was struggling to keep up with Americans’ changing shopping habits. Big box retailers such as Walmart beat it on both price and merchandise selection.

In 1999, it was booted out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, where it had been for 75 years. Big box rival Home Depot took its place.

Sears and Kmart merged to form Sears Holdings in 2005. At the time, they had 3,500 US stores between them. They have fewer than 900 today.

In July, Sears closed its last store in Chicago, once its hometown. In August, the company announced another 46 store closings. The company had 89,000 employees as of February. That’s down from 317,000 US employees in early 2006, soon after the merger.

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