And then there were none.
The final Kmart store in the Columbus-Phenix City market will be closing its doors, owner Sears Holdings said Friday.
A liquidation sale will begin as soon as next Thursday at the 2500 Airport Thruway Kmart location, which was the 55-year-old chain’s lone surviving Columbus-area location after a round of closures earlier this year. Employees were told of the store closure Friday, the company said, with it and 34 other Kmarts and eight Sears outlets shutting their doors by early October.
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In the previous round, completed by the end of March, Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears Holdings shuttered the Sears department store on Whittlesey Boulevard at Columbus Park Crossing, the Kmart on Macon Road in Columbus, and the Kmart on U.S. Highway 280 in Phenix City. None of those spaces have been filled.
Several years ago, a Kmart outlet on Milgen Road was closed. An Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and a Planet Fitness gym are in that space now.
The Airport Thruway location at one point in April and May had been advertising inventory blowouts, with its shelves and floor fully stocked. The 90,223-square-foot building that it inhabits was constructed in 1980, according to Muscogee County tax records. The property, including the parking lot, is just over seven acres.
“We have fought hard for many years to return unprofitable stores to a competitive position and to preserve jobs and, as a result, we had to absorb corresponding losses in the process,” Sears Holdings Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Eddie Lampert said Friday in a post labeled “Transformation Update.”
“It is obvious that we don’t make decisions to close stores lightly,” Lampert said. “Our efforts have been, and will continue to be, fact-based, thoughtful and disciplined, with the goal of making Sears Holdings more relevant and more competitive for our members and other constituents.”
The company said eligible employees will receive severance and “have the opportunity” to apply for jobs at remaining Sears and Kmart stores. Though it’s obviously a fluid number amid multiple closure rounds in recent years, it is believed that Sears Holdings still operates more than 1,200 stores nationwide. Roughly half of those are Sears and half are Kmart.
Aside from Columbus, the only other Kmart in Georgia being closed this time is in Douglas. In Alabama, Athens and Tuscaloosa also are losing a Kmart location. (Click here for a complete list of the the current closures)