The only Sears store in St. Cloud is shutting down.
The Crossroads Center mall location will close in mid-January of 2018, Sears spokesperson Howard Riefs confirmed to GoMN. A liquidation sale will start very soon – Oct. 27.
Riefs called it a "difficult, but necessary" decision, and said the company has been speeding up the closing of stores that aren't making much money. Still, he said it wasn't all about cost savings, but rather a broader strategy for large stores that "are too big for our needs."
"Having fewer stores – and the right format – will help us bring Sears Holdings to a size and place to meet the realities of the changing retail world," he said.
Riefs wouldn't divulge the number of employees working at the Crossroads Center location, but said most are part-time, hourly associates. Eligible workers will get severance and can apply for positions at other Sears or Kmart stores.
But job security might not be great if employees choose that route, considering 108 Kmarts and 42 Sears stores were shuttered at the start of 2017, and the company is still dealing with a difficult financial situation.
Three of those stores – the Sears in Mankato and Coon Rapids, and the Kmart in Detroit Lakes – were in Minnesota.
Next to go will be the Crossroads Center location, which the St. Cloud Times points out was the first retailer announced as the mall project came together in the early-'60s. It's still considered one of Crossroads' anchor stores.
Riefs said Sears hopes its online shopping options will help "maintain these valued relationships" with customers "long after a store closes its doors."
As Benzinga points out, Sears (which also owns Kmart) has been in a tough spot – cutting costs and taking on high-interest loans to stay afloat. In 2000, Sears had a total of 863 mall-based retail stores, plus 1,200 other retail outlets. That's plummeted in recent years – down to 695 physical locations to start 2017.
There are now just 34 Sears locations in Minnesota.