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Wichita Sears, Kmart stores escape first round of cuts

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, at 3:48 p.m.

Wichita escaped the cut in the first round of Sears and Kmart store closings announced today by the longtime retailer’s management company, Sears Holdings.

And only one store in Kansas — the Sears full-line store at 2727 Iowa St. in Lawrence — was among 79 Sears and Kmart stores tabbed for closing today. Forty-one Sears stores and 38 Kmarts are among the first of 100 to 120 closing announcements expected, the company said. No timeline was provided for the remaining planned closings.

The closings come on the heels of poor financial performances by both stores in the fourth quarter and in 2011, the company said on Tuesday when it announced plans to close more stores. Comparable store sales for the fourth quarter were down 4.4 percent at Kmart and 6 percent at Sears, and down for the year to date 1.8 percent at Kmart and 3.3 percent at Sears.

The company blames the declines on lower consumer electronics and apparel categories and lower layaway sales at Kmart. The Sears sales declines came in consumer electronics and home appliances.

Besides Lawrence, the closest scheduled closing will come in Lee’s Summit, Mo., where a Grand/Essentials store will be closed.

On Tuesday, store and mall officials told The Eagle that Wichita’s two Sears stores in Towne East and Towne West malls and two Kmart stores are expected to survive the cut. The Kmart Wichita store at 4830 S. Broadway recently signed a new long-term lease, one of its managers said. The other Wichita Kmart is at 4200 W. Kellogg.

According to the Sears Holdings website, store closings and rebrandings have been underway since 2010.

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com.

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