Sears store set to shut down
BY COREY DAVIS
Saturday, June 16, 2018
A local small hardware and appliance retail chain store is currently having a store closing liquidation sale on all items.
The Rocky Mount Sears Hometown store at 1214 N. Wesleyan Blvd. in the Tiffany Square Shopping Center is going out of business. Company officials wouldn’t disclose a final closing date of the independently owned retailer or how many employees would be impacted by the pending closure.
The local Sears Hometown store started in 2012 with between eight and 10 employees. The store occupies 10,000 square feet of space, with 6,500 feet of selling space. The store sells home appliances, home electronics, lawn and garden supplies, tools, mattresses, household goods and other products.
It was part of the new Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc., which was spun off by parent company, Sears Holding Corp., in 2012 in an attempt to restore profitability and raise shareholder confidence, according to reports.
The Rocky Mount Sears Hometown store will be one of between 90 to 100 unprofitable stores the company will shut down during the second quarter, reports said. Officials from the Illinois-based chain reported a $9.4 million loss in the first quarter that ended in May. Officials said in the first quarter a year ago, Sears Hometown lost $21.4 million.
Will Powell, CEO and president of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, said that proceeds from the liquidation of inventory at the stores that are closing will be used to pay down debt.
“Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores is always evaluating our network to determine which communities are best served by our stores,” company officials said. “In some cases, for a variety of reasons, we opt to close certain stores. We thank the customers of Rocky Mount for their loyal support of the Sears Hometown store and encourage them to visit the nearest open store location.”
Before Sears Hometown and Outlet Store opened in Rocky Mount, Sears had a long-time department store in Golden East Crossing mall, which closed in 2012. The former store occupied 90,000 square feet of space and employed about 65 workers.
Mayor David Combs said he believes because of the less visibility at Tiffany Square and the scale down in merchandise that many people in the area were still unaware of the Rocky Mount Sears Hometown store.
According to reports, in March, Sears Hometown started a print, digital and television marketing campaign, including the company’s first-ever national TV ads, to highlight its stores, emphasizing that the locations are independently owned and run by people who don’t work for Sears.
“It’s one of those things where we hate to lose Sears in this community because it’s been here since I was a kid growing up,” Combs said. “It’s just part of their reduction over the years. In the retail market, Sears is like a lot of other companies that are competing with online retailers that people are using opposed to brick-and-mortar stores.”
The struggling department store giant has been shuttering stores for years. On Thursday, reports said, Sears Holding Co., which owns Sears and Kmart, announced that it has identified 100 non-profitable stores and that it would be closing 72 of these locations in the near future.
In 2016, Sears Holding Co. shut down more than 60 Kmart stores, including the Rocky Mount store at 720 Sutters Creek Blvd.
Alan Matthew, director of economic development for Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the city of Rocky Mount, said there could be some development happening in the future with the former Kmart building as the owner of Kmart from New York has plans to have one or two tenants in the 95,000-square-foot building by October.