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More Kmart and Sears Closures are Coming

Job cuts and closures appear to be retail’s new normal.

Sears Holdings Corp. will once again swing the axe this spring and shut an unspecified number of Sears and Kmart stores nationwide in a bid to reduce ongoing expenses. Spokesman Howard Riefs told Reuters on Wednesday that the closures would affect “a very small percentage” of the company’s portfolio, but that most of the affected locations would be among its 952 Kmart outposts.

Local news outlets are reporting Kmart closures in Michigan, Virginia, California, Florida, Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas, to name a few. Some of the company’s 735 Sears stores will close, too.

“Every year we evaluate our store portfolio and make changes based on leases or stores with poor performance,” Riefs said.

It’s no secret that Sears Holdings has struggled in recent times. The company announced its fourth straight year of falling profit and revenue last April and it’s been hemorrhaging stores left and right. As of Jan. 31, 2011, it operated nearly 4,000 stores; three years later that number was down to 1,725.

And having fewer locations hasn’t changed matters. For the three months ended Oct. 31, same-store sales slipped 8.6% to account for a $417 million decline in revenue.

But Sears isn’t the only retailer making headlines of late. Last week, Macy’s announced it would close 36 stores and cut more than 4,500 jobs in early spring, while J.C. Penney said it plans to shutter seven of its 1,020 locations by mid-April.

Sears is expected to post its fourth-quarter earnings report next month.