No Sears, Kmart closing in Augusta area

Upper entrance into Sears at Oak Hollow Mall. Sears Holdings is closing between 100-120 of its Kmart and Sears stores. It still unclear if this store will be closed or not. (AP Photo/Sonny Hedgecock - The HIgh Point Enterprise)

 

The shuttering of Sears and Kmart stores will not affect the Augusta area, according to a list released Thursday by Sears Holdings Corp.

Sears stores in Macon, Ga., and Sumter, S.C., will close as part of the retailer’s Tuesday announcement that it would close stores on the heel of declining holiday sales.

Kmart stores in Georgia that will close are in Atlanta, Buford, Columbus, Douglasville and Jonesboro. No South Carolina Kmart stores were on the closure list.

Sears Holdings named 79 of the approximately 100 poorly performing stores that it will close in 2012.

Same-store sales at Kmart were down 4.4 percent in the eight weeks that ended Christmas Day, and down 6 percent at Sears’ U.S. stores. Overall, they were down 5.2 percent compared with the same period a year ago.

The declines at Kmart were led by drops in electronics and clothing sales as the low-price chain, founded in 1962, faced stiff competition from a resurgent Walmart, which resumed its layaway program this year to make it easier for low-income shoppers to make purchases by paying in installments.

Kmart has found itself squeezed between Walmart’s low prices and Target’s trendier offerings, while Sears has faced more intense competition for electronics and lower prices, and lower demand for household appliances.

Sears blamed electronics sales for more than half of the decline in its namesake chain’s domestic same-store holiday sales.

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