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Sears closing 2 Philly Kmarts to focus on integrated retail

2/2/2014 | Real Estate Blog

The face of retail in Philadelphia will undergo more changes in the next few months. Sears Holdings Corp. announced recently that it will close two Kmart stores, one at the Gallery and one on Orthodox Street, in late April. Liquidation is set to begin Feb. 9.

Most of the stores’ 289 employees are part-time, hourly workers. Some will be laid off, and others will be transferred to other Kmart stores. The company said, too, that some workers will be eligible for severance.

It comes as no surprise to industry professionals that Sears is shuttering some of its stores. In some ways, the retailer is bowing to the inevitable: Sales are down, foot traffic is down, and square footage is not getting any cheaper. Reducing its physical presence will allow Sears to save money while shifting its focus to its online presence.

Sears, like J.C. Penney Corp., has been trying to reinvent itself for a while. The company’s statement to the Philadelphia Business Journal refers to focusing on serving “customers and members through integrated retail.” Sears’ idea is to blend its Sears and Kmart brands, along with other exclusive lines like Kenmore and Lands’ End, into “Shop Your Way.” According to the website, membership is free, and members earn points with every purchase that they can then use online or in any of the associated bricks-and-mortar stores.

In another move to reduce its real estate expenses, Sears recently announced that it will be subleasing the second floor of its anchor store at King of Prussia Mall to Dick’s Sporting Goods. The deal will help mall owner Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, too, by bringing in a more upscale tenant.

Source: Philadelphia Business Journal, “Kmart will close two Philadelphia stores; 289 workers affected,” Peter Van Allen, Jan. 23, 2014