Grand Junction Kmart among stores scheduled to close

The Kmart store in Grand Junction is among a total of 150 Kmart and Sears stores scheduled to close nationwide as Sears Holdings takes steps to improve its financial flexibility and operational performance.

The Kmart store at 2809 North Ave. in Grand Junction and a store in Denver are among 108 Kmart and 42 Sears closings announced by Sears Holdings, the parent company of the two brands. The stores are scheduled to close this spring, although liquidation sales already are under way in some locations.

The Sears store in Mesa Mall in Grand Junction was not on the list of closures.

“The decision to close stores is a difficult, but necessary, step as we take actions to strengthen the company’s operations and fund its transformation,” Edward Lampert, chairman and chief executive officer of Sears Holdings, stated in a news release. “Many of these stores have struggled with their financial performance for years, and we have kept them open to maintain local jobs and in the hope that they would turn around. But in order to meet our objective of returning to profitability, we have to make tough decisions and will continue to do so, which will give our better performing stores a chance at success.”

Eligible employees affected by the closures will receive severance as well as the opportunity to apply for open positions at other Kmart and Sears locations.

In addition to the store closings, Sears Holdings announced it was selling its Craftsman business for $775 million, will  gain $1 billion in liquidity through a $500 million loan backed by real estate and $500 million letter of credit, and raise additional money from the sale of certain properties within its real estate portfolio.

The moves are part of a transition for Sears from a store-based business model into a membership-focused model, Lampert said. “Going forward, Sears will be more focused on our Shop Your Way membership platform, a network with tens of millions of active members, and our integrated retail strategy in order to be a more nimble, innovative and relevant retailer that is better able to provide value and convenience to our customers.”

Sears Holdings reported that same store sales at Kmart and Sears locations for the first two months of the fourth quarter declined between 12 percent and 13 percent. The home services business continues to improve, however.

Meanwhile, the company said it’s exploring ways to maximize the value of its home services and auto centers as well as its Kenmore and Die Hard brands.