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Clifton Park, Latham Kmart stores to shut in spring


Clifton Park, Latham Kmart stores to shut in spring

The Kmart discount department stores in Clifton Park and Latham will close this spring, owner Sears
Clifton Park, Latham Kmart stores to shut in spring
The Big Kmart in Clifton Park is pictured on Monday.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson

The Kmart discount department stores in Clifton Park and Latham will close this spring, owner Sears Holdings confirmed Monday.

The closings, part of an ongoing restructuring by Sears Holdings, will eliminate 74 jobs at the Clifton Park store and 61 at the Latham store. They are the only two stores being closed in New York state, a company spokesman said.

The stores will shut their doors in mid-May, according to Sears Holdings spokesman Howard Reifs. “Until then, the stores will remain open for customers,” he said in an email.

The Kmart store at Rotterdam Square mall is not affected by the closing plan, he said, nor are the other local Kmarts in East Greenbush, Queensbury and Greenwich.

The stores being closed will begin their liquidation sales Feb. 23.

The Clifton Park Kmart is located on Park Avenue in the Shopper’s World Plaza near Northway Exit 9, while the Latham store is located in a free-standing building on Route 2 (Troy-Schenectady Road).

Reifs said the stores are being closed because their leases were expiring and the company decided not to renew them. The company also closed a Kmart on Central Avenue in Colonie in December after that lease expired.

“The closures are part of a series of actions we’re taking to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” Reifs said.

The company has an announced strategy of trying to increase sales online and through other methods, with less emphasis on traditional merchandise display stores.

“These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail — at the store, online and in the home,” Reifs said.

Sears Holdings, of Hoffman Estates, Ill., owns Sears and Kmart stores, both of which have struggled to maintain in-store sales in recent years. Sears Holdings was formed by the merger of Sears Roebeck & Co. and Kmart stores in 2005.

Reifs said the 135 employees whose jobs are being eliminated in Clifton Park and Latham will receive severance pay if eligible and will have the opportunity to apply for open positions at other area Sears or Kmart stores. The workforce is mostly part-time/hourly employees, he said.

As of last year, there are about 1,200 Kmart stores across 49 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the company website.

The closings come as Sears Holdings continues to see in-store sales decline at its Sears and Kmart stores. Total domestic comparable store sales for the fourth quarter of 2013 declined 7.4 percent overall, with a 5.7 percent decrease for Kmart, according to a report the company gave in January.

Kmart’s sales for the quarter reflected declines in most categories, the report said, including in consumer electronics, grocery, household goods and toys.

For the full year, Sears Holdings said a loss of between $284 million and $414 million is expected as consolidated adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Clifton Park town Supervisor Phil Barrett issued a statement Monday saying he was “disappointed” by the closing of the store, which has been at Shopper’s World Plaza for 25 years.

“We are particularly concerned with our neighbors working at the store becoming displaced as the store implements its closing process,” he said.

But he said the closing is an example of why the town is looking at rezoning the area to become a town center, to encourage mixed-use development.

“The town center plan was initiated, in part, to prepare for further redevelopment opportunities that may occur in the future,” Barrett said. “The closing of the Kmart store has made that concern a reality and offers new opportunities for Clifton Park.”

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