West Glenwood Kmart to close | AspenTimes.com

West Glenwood Kmart to close

Heather McGregor and John Colson
Post Independent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Glenwood Springs Kmart store is one of 79 Kmart and Sears stores targeted for closure nationwide, according to a preliminary list released Thursday by Sears Holding Corp.

In Colorado, the company will also close a Kmart in Broomfield and a Sears in Longmont.

“While our past practice has been to keep marginally performing stores open while we worked to improve their performance, we no longer believe that to be the appropriate action in this environment,” stated Lou D’Ambrosio, CEO for Sears Hold Corp., in a press release posted on the company’s website.

A closing date for the local store, a longtime anchor in the Glenwood Springs Mall, wasn’t announced.

Sears Holding Corp. said it plans to close 100 to 120 Sears and Kmart stores nationwide in the coming months – about 3 percent of its stores – and will sell off inventory to generate up to $170 million in cash as it closes the retail outlets.

Sears and Kmart merged in 2005. The company now has about 3,560 stores in the U.S., employing 40 to 80 people in most stores.

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The company’s public relations office couldn’t be reached to determine the employment at the Glenwood Springs store, and the store’s assistant manager, Michael McFarland, said company officials asked store managers not to answer media questions.

Lucia Yeo of Eagle said she’s been shopping at the Glenwood Springs Mall for 16 years, and shops at Kmart because it also offers Sears products. She said the store closure wasn’t surprising, noting that the mall has other vacant storefronts.

The Kmart closure comes on the heels of the U.S. Postal Service’s closure of its West Glenwood mail processing facility, which employed 37.

For Glenwood Springs area shoppers, Kmart has been a store that offered value in a no-frills atmosphere, stocking some hard-to-find items along with normal general store products.

Over the years, its market share in Glenwood Springs fell with the entrance of Wal-Mart in 1987 and Target in 2005.

“I’ve always been a Kmart shopper,” said Mia Landa of Carbondale, who was shopping Thursday afternoon with her with teenagers. Their usual purchases are video games and movies.

“Once you’re here in the mall, it’s nice to go here to shop instead of Wal-Mart, or Target, on the other side of town,” said Landa.

Debbie Cook, who lives in Meeker and works in Glenwood Springs, said, “I am a frequent Kmart shopper, and part of the reason is they really do have great value.”

When she heard about the pending store closure, she added, “It’s always sad to see people lose their jobs. I think that’s a tragedy. Where will they go?”

According to The Associated Press, Florida will be hit the hardest by the closing of Sears and Kmart stores, losing 11. Ohio, Michigan and Georgia have six store closures planned in their states. Tennessee, North Carolina and Minnesota are set to lose four stores each.

None of the closures announced so far are in Sears’ home state of Illinois, where the state is in a bidding war with other states to keep the Sears company headquarters.

Nationwide, Kmart sales are down 1.8 percent for the year, and down 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, the company reported this week. Sales for the fourth quarter were largely blamed on a drop in sales of consumer electronics and apparel and a lower number of layaway sales.