Sears store to close

Published 11:11 pm Friday, February 3, 2012

Closing: The Sears store on East Constance Road is set to close next month, an employee said Friday. The company announced in December that it would shutter 100 to 120 Kmart and Sears stores as a result of higher operating expenses and falling revenue.

Despite escaping an initial closing announcement in December, the Suffolk Sears store on East Constance Road will be closed by Sears Holdings Corporation next month.

A “store closing” banner hung on the front of the store on Friday. Although a list of store closings on the company’s website still had not been updated to include the Suffolk store, an employee who answered the phone at the store Friday confirmed the store would close sometime near the end of March.

Sears Holdings Corporation announced in December it would shutter 100 to 120 Kmart and Sears stores.

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“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,” said chief executive officer Lou D’Ambrosio. “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.”

The press release issued in December blamed the company’s revenue decline on a combination of lower sales and increased expenses.

A company spokeswoman reached on Friday declined to talk and referred all questions to the December press release.

The store closings are expected to bring in about $140 to $170 million in cash through sales of inventory and the sale or lease of the real estate. The company also plans to focus on improving gross profits through better inventory management and more targeted pricing and promotion, the press release said. It also said the company would continue to evaluate the performance of individual stores.

“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,” the press release said. “We intend to accentuate our focus and resources into our better performing stores.”

The December press release said 40 to 80 employees per store would be affected.