Sears used to be one of my favorite tool stores, and I’m not just talking about Craftsman tools. A few years ago, new Craftsman hand tools came out, and they were made overseas.
They used to have a great tool buyer, bringing a variety of otherwise hard to find brands to stores, online and brick & mortar. I tried to remain positive, that it was okay if some new tools were made overseas, as long as the core tools were continued to be made here. Craftsman discontinued their Craftsman Professional brand, and slowly but very obviously, they stopped making tools here.
“This most recent announcement of 66 more store closures is just another installment of what has been and is likely to be continued decline.” Perkins said the once-iconic department store has had just one quarter of positive same-store sales growth in the last 12 years.
Sears has not turned an operating profit in over four years and has managed just eight profitable quarters in the last 37.
“These planned closings are part of our operational restructuring and consistent with our objective of returning to profitability.” Sears’ predicament is part of the general decline of the department store sector, which lacks the infrastructure and distribution network to compete with the likes of Amazon and other online players.
Four Macy’s stores shut in the Philadelphia region at the end of March, while three JCPenney stores, at King of Prussia, Willow Grove, and Philadelphia Mills malls, are set to close on July 31.
“The deterioration of both Sears and the department store industry is largely due to surging e-commerce spending and the failure to compete with off-price brick-and-mortar stores.” Liquidation sales start Thursday for the targeted Kmarts on the list of 66, while Sears liquidation sales will start Friday.
All 66 stores are to close by early September, according to the company.
The closings come on top of 150 stores that the company closed this spring and are part of the beleaguered retailer’s ongoing effort to get out of the red.
Three are in South Jersey: a Sears in Vineland, and Kmarts in Mantua, Gloucester County, and Manahawkin, Ocean County.
Three Kmarts in western Pennsylvania – in Belle Vernon, Indiana, and Butler — also will close.
Since 2012, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), which owns several malls in the region, has reduced the number of Sears and Kmart stores in its portfolio from 27 to 11.
At Exton Square Mall in Chester County, construction continues on a Whole Foods which will replace a former Kmart.