During the last week of December, Sears Holding Corporation announced that it would close up to 120 stores. The projected closings represent only about 3 percent of the company's stores in the United States.
According to a preliminary list of 79 planned closures released with the announcement, Florida will be hit the hardest with the closing of 11 Sears and Kmart stores. Georgia, Ohio, and Michigan each have six on the list.
Of course, upon hearing the announcement, I pulled up the list to see if Statesboro was on it. We do have a Kmart, and we do have Sears. And, they are not on the closing list.
I have no idea what the sales numbers are for the Kmart here, but I do know that our Sears Hometown Store does very well, and it is not a "company" store, but is owned by local resident Gary Cooler. I did not expect to see the Statesboro Sears on the list.
I asked Cooler what he thought about the closings, and whether or not it would or should have any effect on him at all.
"If I had to say there was any negative, it would be the timing of the announcement, right after Christmas," he said. "But, those stores were a burden on the company, and I am assuming that it can only be positive, when you remove nonperforming assets."
Cooler said his fiscal year is from February through January, and this current fiscal year appears to be a pretty good one.
"Every business has been impacted by the recession, and our sales were as well," he said. "This year, which will be ending in three weeks, is going to be pretty good, even with the challenges that we have faced in the southeast."
Specifically, Cooler was referring to the drought of this past year.
"When it isn't raining, people aren't buying outdoor equipment like lawnmowers and lawn tractors," he said. "That's a big deal for us. However, on the flip side of that equation, it was really, really hot, so air conditioners, freezers, things of that nature sold really well. All in all, it has been a very good year, and I am completely grateful to our customers and to our community for their continued support."
Sears and Kmart merged in 2005, and the company now has about 3,560 stores in the U.S. The company said it will close its store at the Macon Mall. The Georgia Kmarts closing are in Buford, Columbus, Douglasville, Jonesboro and southwest Atlanta.
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
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