Sears' shrinking footprint means loss of another store in region

Sears is experiencing another round of closures, this time affecting its Redmond store.
Sears is experiencing another round of closures, this time affecting its Redmond store. Associated Press file, 2017

Liquidation sales for the latest round of Sears closures start Friday (April 27), and a Washington state store is on the list.

On Thursday, the state issued a WARN notice concerning the layoff of 68 workers at Sears' Redmond store in the Overlake Fashion Plaza, set to close in July. The store is one of 24 (including two Kmarts) the chain is shuttering this go-around.

A recent Business Insider review of Sears brought some sobering numbers to light. In the past five years, Sears’ store count nationwide has dropped by close to half — from 1,980 stores in 2013 to 1,002 stores as of early February. Business Insider also noted the retailer is closing another 103 stores this month, in addition to the 24 stores that will close by July.

This latest round of downsizing also has the chain selling off a group of stores, mainly in Missouri, Texas, Indiana and Ohio, that will be leased back to the company for it to rent the spaces. Deadline for those stores is Tuesday (May 1).

Another chunk of stores is being marketed separately for sale. Those include stores in Lacey, at Westfield Southcenter in Tukwila, Union Gap in Yakima County and two in the Spokane area, along with a Kmart in Spokane.

Sears sold off and later announced the closures of its Federal Way, Shoreline and Chehalis stores this spring. The Kmart store in Chehalis was on the April closure list.

Locally, the Tacoma Mall's Sears store faces proposed demolition and could return as a smaller format store.

Earlier in April, Sears Holdings spokesman Howard Riefs told The News Tribune that, "Moving forward, we are considering smaller format stores at this mall and everywhere our Sears leases expire."

A recent count of Sears stores listed on its website show Washington down to about 30 sites (not counting its auto centers).

In Chicago, where the chain opened its first physical store in 1925, Sears announced April 13 that it was closing its last Sears in the city. The retailer still has stores in some of the city's suburbs. The company is based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

Debbie Cockrell: 253-597-8364, @Debbie_Cockrell