Sears clos­ing last store in Rich­mond area

Ch­ester­field lo­ca­tion among dozens across U.S. to shut next year

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - FRONT PAGE - BY GRE­GORY J. GIL­LI­GAN Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch

Sears is clos­ing its store at Ch­ester­field Towne Cen­ter — the chain’s last re­main­ing lo­ca­tion in the Rich­mond re­gion.

The store is one of 51 Sears and 45 Kmart stores that will close in Fe­bru­ary, the chains’ owner, Trans­formco, an­nounced Thurs­day.

Three other stores in Vir­ginia — at the Spot­syl­va­nia Mall near Fred­er­icks­burg, the Manas­sas Mall, and the Ap­ple Blos­som Mall in Winch­ester — also are slated to close.

Go­ing-out-of-busi­ness sales at these stores are ex­pected to be­gin on Dec. 2.

The clo­sures are part of the Trans­formco’s con­tin­u­ing ef­forts to re­struc­ture its Sears and Kmart busi­nesses. Trans­formco was cre­ated ear­lier this year by Sears’ for­mer CEO, Ed­die Lam­pert, to ac­quire the as­sets of Sears Hold­ings Corp. out of bank­ruptcy.

Trans­formco cited a “dif­fi­cult re­tail en­vi­ron­ment and other chal­lenges” since it ac­quired sub­stan­tially all the as­sets of Sears Hold­ings in Fe­bru­ary.

“We have been work­ing hard to po­si­tion Trans­formco for suc­cess by fo­cus­ing on our com­pet­i­tive strengths and prun­ing op­er­a­tions that have strug­gled due to in­creased com­pe­ti­tion

and other fac­tors,” Trans­formco said in a state­ment.

“To sup­port these ini­tia­tives, our own­ers (along with a third-party investor) have re­cently pro­vided the com­pany ap­prox­i­mately $250 mil­lion in new cap­i­tal. As part of this pro­cess, we have made the dif­fi­cult but nec­es­sary de­ci­sion to stream­line our op­er­a­tions and close 96 Sears and Kmart stores.”

Fol­low­ing these clos­ings, Trans­formco will op­er­ate 182 stores — sig­nif­i­cantly fewer than the 4,000 stores the for­mer Sears Hold­ings op­er­ated at its peak in 2012. The com­pany had 1,000 stores at the end of 2017 and 687 Sears and Kmart lo­ca­tions at the time of its bank­ruptcy fil­ing in Oc­to­ber 2018.

The be­lea­guered re­tailer closed the Rich­mond re­gion’s last Kmart store in Jan­uary 2018. It was on Nine Mile Road in eastern Hen­rico County.

The chain closed its Sears stores in Re­gency mall in Hen­rico County in Septem­ber 2017, in South­park Mall in Colo­nial Heights in Jan­uary 2018, and in Vir­ginia Cen­ter Com­mons in Hen­rico this past Jan­uary.

“We will con­tinue to eval­u­ate our Sears and Kmart foot­print, con­sis­tent with our over­all re­tail and ser­vice strategy,” Trans­formco said in the state­ment.

Sears has op­er­ated a store in the Rich­mond re­gion since at least the late 1920s. Its first lo­cal store was at 201 W. Broad St. — where the Quirk Ho­tel is now. Sears opened the two-story, 147,000-square­foot Ch­ester­field Towne Cen­ter store in April 1996.

It is one of the mall’s an­chor ten­ants along with

Macy’s, J.C. Pen­ney, and T.J. Maxx/HomeGoods.

Lands’ End had an­nounced last month that it was clos­ing its store within that Sears lo­ca­tion in Jan­uary as part of Lands’ End’s strate­gic plan to be out of all Sears lo­ca­tions by the end of the fis­cal year in late Jan­uary.

The Sears lo­ca­tions in Vir­ginia Cen­ter Com­mons and South­park Mall re­main va­cant.

De­mo­li­tion of the Sears store at Re­gency should take place by the end of the year to make way for a four- to five-story apart­ment build­ing. The mall’s own­ers, which bought the Sears build­ing in March 2018, are trans­form­ing the mall prop­erty into a mixed-use de­vel­op­ment that in­cludes the 320-unit apart­ment com­plex where the va­cant Sears store is now.

TIMES-DIS­PATCH

Sears plans to close its store at Ch­ester­field Towne Cen­ter — its last re­main­ing lo­ca­tion in the Rich­mond re­gion — in Fe­bru­ary.

TIMES-DIS­PATCH

The two-story Sears store at Ch­ester­field Towne Cen­ter is clos­ing. It opened in 1996.

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