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Sears, Kmart footprints getting smaller in West Virginia; additional closings announced

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Two more Sears Holding properties in West Virginia will close in the coming months as part of the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing announced Monday.

Of the 142 Sears and Kmart stores listed for closing in the bankruptcy filing, the Sears store at the Morgantown Mall in Westover and the Kmart store in the Patrick Street Plaza in Charleston are on the list.

The liquidation of those stores is expected to begin within two weeks, court documents said.

“It’s going to be sad that they close this place,” an Elkview native and shopper at the Patrick Street Plaza Kmart said. “It’s going to hurt a lot of people.”

“I hope something else comes in. There’s a lot of low income in this area and a lot of people walk here or catch a bus.”

After the latest round of closings there will only be two Kmart stores left in West Virginia–both in the Charleston area. One in Kanawha City and another at the Crossings Mall in Elkview. There will remain only one Sears retail location–a store at the Huntington Mall.

There are a four Sears Hometown stores and three auto centers left in West Virginia.

West Virginia Retailers Association President Bridgett Lambert said Sears was once the dominant retailer but online shopping changed all of that.

“Instead of the Sears catalog being used–and you got it once a year–consumers now order online every day with same type of items being delivered to their doors,” she said.

Since 2017, Sears Holding has closed Kmarts in Elkins, Weirton, South Parkersburg, Vienna, Beckley, Martinsburg, Huntington, Clarksburg and St. Albans. A store in Teays Valley is currently having a liquidation sale after an August closing announcement.

Lambert is hopeful Sears can come back through a viable restructuring agreement.

“The goal of Sears through this restructuring is to make their company stronger and to find their foot-path through this new market. Hopefully, this will actually benefit them in the long-term,” Lambert said.

Sears last profitable year was 2010. Since then the company’s sales have dropped 60 percent and it’s lost $11.2 billion.

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