Retail: Berkshire outlets not among Sears, KMart closings

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PITTSFIELD >> The parent company of both Sears and KMart announced Friday that it plans to close 78 stores nationwide, but the two chain's three Berkshire County outlets are not included.

Sears operates stores in both Great Barrington and the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough while KMart also has a store in Great Barrington. The Sears in Lanesborough is one of the mall's anchor stores.

All but 10 of the nationwide store closures are KMarts.

Sears Holdings is closing only one store in Massachusetts: a KMart in Tewksbury, according to a list released by the company. Regionally, the chain is also closing a KMart in Connecticut, and two Sears and two KMarts in New York state. The closest New York outlet to the Berkshires that is closing is a KMart in Poughkeepsie.

All of the Sears stores and most of the KMarts will close in late July. Two KMarts are scheduled to close in September.

Financial problems

In January, Sears Holdings had also announced that it planned to close 27 Sears and KMarts across the country by this spring. None of the Berkshire County stores were on that list either.

According to USA Today, Sears Holdings is trying to "cut its way" to profitability due to falling sales and a holiday season that failed to live up to expectations.

"The decision to close stores is a difficult but necessary step as we take aggressive action to strengthen our company, fund our transformation and restore Sears to profitability," Sears Holdings CEO Edward Lampert said in a statement.

According to USA Today, Sears Holdings has been struggling for years to regain traction with customers who have been lured away by online retailers, and less expensive chains like Target and H&M.

Sears and KMart are not the only retail chains that have been effected by these issues. According to Time.com/money, major retailers are expected to close 2,500 stores across the country through 2017. Those retailers include Barnes & Noble, Walgreens, Aeropostale, American Eagle and Wal-Mart.

On Tuesday, Eastern Mountain Sports announced it would be closing eight stores after its parent company, Connecticut-based Vestis Retail Group Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The EMS store in the Berkshire Mall is not included on that list of store closures.

Contact Tony Dobrowolski at 413-496-6224.


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