Sears is closing its last Chicago store
This summer, Sears is closing its final store in its hometown of Chicago, which opened in the city in 1938, as the struggling company cements its status as a dinosaur of American retail.
“It’s a loss in terms of the nostalgia and for families who grew up shopping there, but in terms of what the next generation of shoppers is looking for, it’s not going to be a Sears,” Neil Stern, senior consulting partner at McMillanDoolittle, told the Chicago Tribune.
The store is located in the Six Corners retail area which is heading for a neighborhood revitalization. The Sears store and accompanying auto center currently occupy over 180,000 square feet.
Preservation Chicago has been actively trying to have former Sears locations classified as historical landmarks instead of being demolished for new real estate development. Along with the final store closing this summer, the organization hopes to get protection for another Chicago store location that operated for 90 years.
Preservation Chicago Executive Director Ward Miller told the Chicago Tribune, “I think that would be a double tragedy to lose the retail institution as well as this really wonderful building."
Sears still maintains an office in Chicago that employs 150 people, and will continue to operate stores in Chicago suburbs. There are no plans to close the one Kmart (also owned by Sears Holdings) that is still open in the city.
Company spokesperson Howard Riefs told the Tribune in an emailed statement, “Although we are disappointed by this last store closure in Chicago, by no means does this change our commitment to our customers and presence to Chicago’s residents.”
Closing the last Chicago store comes on the heels of Sears downsizing a fifth of its US retail fleet as well as cutting 50,000 jobs last year. The company has reported $10.8 billion in losses over the past seven years.
Sears expects to close the auto center in May and the retail store in July.
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