- Transformco, the owner of the Sears and Kmart banners, is moving to close more stores after years of steady retrenchment.
- The company's job postings from recent weeks list temporary positions tied to store closures at 13 stores, one at a Kmart and the rest at Sears stores. The closures include stores in California, Hawaii, Texas, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Massachusetts and New York.
- Spokespeople for Transformco did not immediately respond to Retail Dive's request for more information. Forbes previously reported on most of the recent closures.
Sears has steadily liquidated over the past decade. The previous incarnation of the company opened 2010 with more than 3,900 stores. A lot has happened since then: property sales; private brand sales; the divestment of Sears Canada, Sears Hometown and other related banners; bankruptcy; acquisition in Chapter 11 by former CEO and current chairman Eddie Lampert.
And also many, many store closures. Since Sears Holdings filed for bankruptcy in 2018, the retailer has closed hundreds of additional locations. And the shuttering continued apace after the advent of COVID-19.
At some point, the retailer will run out of stores to close. Michael Lisicky reported for Forbes on Jan. 30 that Transform had 36 department stores left in operation and 30 Kmarts. (Three more stores have been added to the closure list since.)
As Sears quietly disappears, more mall anchor spaces go dark. While a competitor closing a store can free up market share for rivals, it also hurts the overall health of a shopping center.
J.C. Penney, for example, tried to capitalize on Sears' slow-motion liquidation by taking on appliance sales under former CEO Marvin Ellison. Under Jill Soltau (who recently departed), Penney reversed course. Moreover, the retailer did not seem to benefit generally from Sears closures. Its sales have steadily declined in recent years as Sears disappeared — a dismal trend for Penney that led to Chapter 11 and acquisition by major landlords last year.