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Sears Holdings Corp. is closing 150 additional stores nationwide, including its Jonesboro location.

The company -- which owns both Sears and Kmart -- revealed its latest round of store closures Thursday, saying employees at the affected locations were informed of the decision on either Wednesday or Dec. 27. The Jonesboro store will close in late March, according to a company spokesman.

Sears said in a statement that the decision to close stores is a "difficult but necessary step" as it takes actions to strengthen operations and "fund its transformation." The store closures account for roughly 10 percent of its 1,500 locations. The company also closed Kmart stores in Jonesboro and Springdale last year.

"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 hopes that they would turn around," the company statement said. "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."

A Sears spokesman said the number of employees affected by the store closure in Jonesboro is not publicly available. But employees will receive severance and have an opportunity to apply for open positions at area Kmart or Sears stores.

The Sears on Caraway Road in Jonesboro is a stand-alone store. It was once an anchor of the Indian Mall, which closed in 2008 and was demolished in 2012. Sears remained at the lot, which is also now home to a Kroger Marketplace.

"We hate to see Sears leave because it's been a good corporate citizen in Jonesboro," Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin said in a statement. "We already have people with different ideas for businesses showing interest in building a new facility there. That property is located in the highest visibility corridor in our city, so the future is promising."

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The closure is another indication of the ongoing struggles for Sears Holdings, which is trying to cut costs after sales and in-store traffic have declined for years.

The company said comparable store sales at its Sears and Kmart stores for November and December were down at least 12 percent. Last week, Sears received credit for up to $500 million to provide it with cash as it sells assets, according to The Associated Press.

In addition to the store closings, Sears announced Thursday that it had sold its Craftsman line of tools to Stanley Black & Decker in a deal valued at about $900 million. Sears, which still will be able to sell the tools in its stores, controlled the Craftsman brand since 1927.

Neil Stern, a senior partner at retail consulting firm McMillan-Doolittle, said Sears' struggles are the result of waves of competition from retailers such as Wal-Mart, Lowe's and Amazon.com.

"The retail world has changed dramatically," Stern said in an email. "Sears simply hasn't changed enough and the closures are a sad reflection of this."

But Sears isn't the only bricks-and-mortar retailer closing locations.

Macy's announced earlier this week that it was closing 68 stores. There aren't any Macy's locations in Arkansas, but the company said its store in Tulsa was among the closings.

Tom Caporaso, chief executive officer of e-commerce solution provider Clarus Commerce, said the latest round of closures probably won't be the last because of the ongoing rise of e-commerce and Amazon.com's online retail dominance.

"They're kind of lapping the field," Caporaso said. "Folks like Sears and Macy's and some of those historical big-box retailers are feeling the brunt of that."

Business on 01/06/2017

Print Headline: Jonesboro's Sears among 150 to close

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