Wilmington Kmart closing in March; employees remain mum as liquidation is expected to start Friday

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A mostly empty parking lot at the Kmart on College Rd. (Photo by Benjamin Schachtman).

WILMINGTON — Sears Holdings announced in a press release on Wednesday, Jan. 4, that it would be closing more “non-profitable” stores.

Wednesday’s release listed 78 Kmart stores and 26 Sears stores nationwide. This is in addition to closings announced in late December (a complete list of closures is available here). Most stores, including the Wilmington location, will close at the end of March, 2017 (four stores will close earlier). According to the press release, “liquidation sales will begin as early as January 6 at all closing stores.”

The Wilmington Sears, located in the Independence Mall, will remain open.

A press release from Sears Holdings quoted Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert as saying:

“The decision to close stores is a difficult but necessary step as we take actions to strengthen the company’s operations and fund its transformation. Many of these stores have struggled with their financial performance for years and we have kept them open to maintain local jobs and in the hopes that they would turn around. But in order to meet our objective of returning to profitability, we have to make tough decisions and will continue to do so, which will give our better performing stores a chance at success.”

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Parts of the store seemed deserted. (Photo Benjamin Schachtman.)

Employees would not speak with the media on the record, declined to be photographed and had removed identifying information from their uniforms. It did not appear that employees had knowledge of the closing prior to the announcement.

At the Wilmington location, employees continued to stock some areas of the store, while other areas appeared barren.  Employees would not speak with the media on the record, declined to be photographed and had removed identifying information from their uniforms. It did not appear that employees had knowledge of the closing prior to the announcement.

In the addendum to Wednesday’s press release, listing the impact stores, Sears Holdings said “eligible associates impacted by these store closures will receive severance and will have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Kmart or Sears stores.”

Calls to Sears Holdings corporate office, regarding how many employees would qualify and other questions about the closure, were directed to Wednesday’s press release.

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