With inventory sparse and empty racks plentiful on Monday, the Sears and Kmart stores in Columbus and Phenix City began their final week of business. Their last day of business is Sunday.
“Everything priced to the bare walls,” screamed a sign inside the three businesses, which are nearly down to their bare bones.
The Sears store at 5555 Whittlesey Blvd. in Columbus, as well as the Kmart stores at 3200 Macon Road in Columbus and at 2003 U.S. Highway 280 in Phenix City, have been liquidating their goods since early January. That’s when Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears Holdings, their parent company, announced that 42 Sears locations and 108 carrying the Kmart brand were being closed because they were unprofitable.
The Kmart store at 2500 Airport Thruway remains open.
Shoppers have been steadily purchasing the inventory over the last 10 weeks at the targeted locations, with discounts rising as the items stocking the shelves dwindled. The Kmart stores on Monday were down to mostly clothing items, home goods and toys. There were still relatively low discounts of 30 percent on Easter products, with the holiday not arriving until April 16. Bottles of wine in the store were 40 percent off.
The Sears department store at Columbus Park Crossing still had a seemingly ample supply of women’s apparel on Monday, while men’s clothing was declining amid spaced-out racks. Nearby, the tools, lawn and garden areas were virtually wiped out. Both Sears and Kmart are selling fixtures, furniture and shelves.
The demise of the local stores comes with Sears Holdings earlier this month reporting a net loss of $2.2 billion in 2016, which was up from $1.13 billion in 2015. That was on revenues of just over $22 billion in 2016, down from just over $25 billion the year prior. The company noted it was operating with fewer stores in 2016, compared to the year before.
Sears Holdings also said its more than $900 million sale of the Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker has been completed. The company will receive a cash payment of $525 million — minus closing costs and working capital adjustments — with Stanley Black & Decker paying $250 more in three years and royalty payments of 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent on sales of Craftsman products sold by Stanley for 15 years.
Sears also will continue to sell Craftsman items at its stores without a royalty for 15 years, it said. The value of a $250 million payment from Stanley Black & Decker also has been committed to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. toward pension commitments through 2019.
“We will continue to take actions to drive profitability, generate liquidity and adjust our overall capital structure while continuing to meet all of our financial obligations,” Jason M. Hollar, Sears Holdings chief financial officer, said in the March 9 earnings release.