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USA TODAY: SEARS AND KMART CLOSING MORE STORES

By Kelly Tyko, as published in USA Today, September 21, 2021

More Sears and Kmart stores will close in the coming months.

Two years after Transformco acquired the struggling retailers out of bankruptcy in February 2019, seven Sears and two Kmart stores are liquidating with most closing by mid-November.

SB360 Capital Partners is managing the store closing sales, according to the liquidation firm’s website.

Transformco said in a statement that its “go-forward store strategy for Sears and Kmart is to operate a diversified portfolio consisting of a small number of larger, premier stores with a larger number of small format stores.”

One of the closing stores is the Sears store at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois, which Transformco said is “its last large department store in Illinois.” The company said it plans to “redevelop and reinvigorate the property.”

Transformco said it “will continue to expand both Hometown Stores and Home & Life stores in cities and towns that previously had larger format stores.” It also is “very focused on growing sears.com and the Sears Home Services business.”

The company has not posted a list of store closures since November 2019 when it announced 96 stores would shutter by February 2020. At that time, the company said it would operate 182 stores after the closures.

There have been additional closings but no large announcements have been made since 2019.

Both chains were owned by Sears Holdings, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2018 and narrowly escaped liquidation in early 2019. They were sold to their longtime investor and CEO, Eddie Lampert, who has kept them alive on a shoestring budget under the company name Transformco.

Transformco said in a statement to USA TODAY that there are more than 300 large and small format Sears and Kmart stores nationwide. The majority of those stores are Hometown Stores, “primarily operated by independent dealers or franchisees of an affiliate of Transformco.”