A Sears department store was likely a staple at your hometown shopping mall. The brand is a household name, but if you haven’t noticed a sign for Sears in a while, there’s a reason. The retailer has been rapidly closing locations since filing for bankruptcy in Oct. 2018. This month, Sears has made yet another round of closures, leaving two states without any stores remaining. Read on to find out which locations just closed their doors for good.
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Back in its glory days, Sears was the place to go for American shoppers, even becoming the largest U.S. retailer in the 1980s. But similar to other department stores, Sears began to struggle financially in the subsequent decades, and was purchased by Kmart in 2004 in an effort to save both brands. Plans backfired, as both retailers ended up filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy 14 years later, Forbes reported. Since that time, brick-and-mortar Sears stores have started disappearing, and only a fraction still remain in operation today.
In addition to the iconic department stores, the retailer—now owned by parent company Transformco—operates smaller Sears Hometown Stores. As of 2019, there were 750 Hometown Stores, which generally sell tools and appliances and are operated by “independent dealers or franchisees of Transformco affialiates,” CNN Business reported.
The number of Hometown Stores has quickly dwindled over the last three years, but they accounted for a majority of the 300 Sears and Kmart stores still in operation in Sept. 2021, according to a statement issued to USA Today by Transformco. It wasn’t until May 2022 when the tides really turned for Sears Hometown Stores, as CNN reported that 100 locations were closing, accounting for approximately half of its’ “remaining retail footprint.”
Now, yet another Sears department store and a Sears Hometown Store have said goodbye for good.
This month, a Sears Hometown Store in Walterboro, South Carolina, closed up shop, with owner Teresa Busbee noting that the decision was out of her hands. Busbee first announced the closure in a Sept. 15 Facebook post, “with a heavy heart,” adding that there would be a liquidation sale starting the following day.
Busbee later told Walterboro Live that her customers had nothing to do with the closure. The decision came from on high, she said, and eliminated the retailer’s presence in South Carolina entirely.
“I want people to know that this is not happening because the community did not support us,” she said. “It was nothing to do with the community or ownership. It was strictly a corporate decision made by Sears. We got caught up in this wave of closures, and there’s another coming. There are no more Sears stores in South Carolina.”
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The Newburgh Mall, in Newburgh, New York, officially said goodbye to its Sears location on Oct. 16, WRRV Radio reported. News of the closure was originally announced on Facebook on Aug. 31, with many commenters writing about how much they would miss the store and its place in the community.
The location was the last Sears department store operating in New York, WRRV reported, and the Newburgh Mall itself is undergoing renovations with the addition of the Resorts World Hudson Valley casino.
It seems like some Sears Hometown Stores are safe for right now, as the store locator page lists 144 still in operation across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. It’s not clear how often the page is updated, but the Waltersboro location has been removed and no other stores are listed in South Carolina.
Other Sears stores aren’t faring as well. As of Sept. 24, BroStocks reported that 23 Sears stores were still in operation, with five more set to close—including the Newburgh location. Also on the chopping block is the Anchorage, Alaska Sears Home & Life store—a smaller model that mainly sells mattresses, appliances, and home products, according to CNBC—and the Appliance & Mattress store in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Sears department stores are set to close permanently in Burbank, California, and Union Gap, Washington. It is not clear when the California store is getting the boot, but it’s doing so alongside the Bed Bath & Beyond at the Burbank Town Center, ABC-affiliate KABC reported. The Union Gap store is anticipated to shut down by Nov. 20, according to The Wenatchee World, citing Yakima Herald-Republic.