Sears

The Sears store in Joplin is closing, as are 95 other Sears and Kmart stores around the country. 

The announcement was made Thursday by Sears' parent company, and it follows the closing of the Sears Hometown and Outlet Store in Pittsburg, Kansas, last summer.

Sears operates a department store that is attached to Northpark Mall and a nearby free-standing auto center.

A manager on duty at the Joplin's Sears store referred the Globe to a corporate phone number, but no one was available Thursday despite multiple calls.

Attempts to find out how many people work at the Joplin site also were unsuccessful.

Transformco, Sears parent company, said going-out-of-business sales are expected to begin Dec. 2 around the country.

"Since purchasing substantially all the assets of Sears Holdings Corp. in February 2019, Transformco has faced a difficult retail environment and other challenges," the company said in a statement. "We have been working hard to position Transformco for success by focusing on our competitive strengths and pruning operations that have struggled due to increased competition and other factors. To support these initiatives, our owners (along with a third-party investor) have recently provided the company approximately $250 million in new capital.

"As part of this process, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to streamline our operations."

After the closing, Transformco will operate 182 stores, the company said, adding that it will "continue to evaluate our Sears and Kmart footprint, consistent with our overall retail and service strategy."

Stacey Keating, director of public relations and corporation communities for CBL Properties, which owns Northpark Mall, said in a statement Thursday, "We have been monitoring the situation with Sears very closely and have been working on contingency plans for the properties impacted. The space is controlled by Sears, so we are still very much in the preliminary stages. At this time, it’s too early to provide a concrete timeline."

Sears has struggled for a number of years, having announced numerous rounds of store closings and gone through numerous restructurings. 

Sears and Kmart merged in 2005, two years after the latter chain emerged from bankruptcy. As recently as 2017 Sears had more than 140,000 employees and more than 1,400 store locations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Andy Ostmeyer is the metro editor at the Globe. His email address is aostmeyer@joplinglobe.com.

Andy Ostmeyer is the metro editor at the Globe. His email address is aostmeyer@joplinglobe.com.

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