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One LI store on list of Sears, Kmart locations slated to close

The Kmart in West Babylon is slated to

The Kmart in West Babylon is slated to be closed by Sears Holdings. Credit: Barry Sloan

A Kmart store in West Babylon is among 63 unprofitable stores that Sears Holdings Corp. plans to close this year, the company said Thursday.

The 48 Sears locations and 15 Kmarts, including the local store at 1000 Montauk Hwy., will shutter in early September.

The stores will join the hundreds nationwide that the struggling retailer has closed in recent years.

“We continue to evaluate our network of stores, which are a critical component in our transformation, and will make further adjustments,” the company said Thursday.

Sears initially said Thursday morning, in its first-quarter earnings results, that it would close 72 stores, but in its list of planned closings released in the afternoon, the retailer said that some locations had been pulled from the list for further evaluation.

The number of employees affected is not available, according to a Sears spokesman.

Liquidation sales at the closing stores will begin as early as June 14, the company said.

The 63 affected stores are among 100 nonprofitable Kmart and Sears stores, according to the Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based retailer.

Sears has been closing stores on Long Island for years, the latest a location in Hicksville it shut down in April. Some old locations have been filled. For instance, a North Babylon location it closed in 2012 on Deer Park Avenue is now occupied by arts and crafts chain Michaels.

Sears Holdings currently operates five Sears locations on Long Island: in Garden City, New Hyde Park, Lake Grove, Massapequa and Valley Stream. It operates five other Kmarts on the Island, in addition to the West Babylon store that will close.

On May 5, there were 529 Sears stores and 365 Kmarts in the United States and two U.S. territories — Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, a company spokesman said. In January 2016, there were 705 Sears locations and 941 Kmarts.

Sears’ future is bleak because its issues go back so many years, said Neil Saunders, managing director of retail at GlobalData, a Manhattan-based market research firm.

“I don’t think there really is much hope for them remaining open because the sales are down so strongly and the company remains unprofitable. Also, it’s running out of assets to sell to prop up its balance sheet,” he said.

At least 10 years ago the company should have invested more in its stores and product ranges to try to become more of a destination retailer, he said.

Furthermore, Sears used to be a goliath in appliance sales, but other large retailers, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, compete strongly in that area now, Saunders said.

On Thursday, Sears reported a first-quarter loss of $424 million, or $3.93 per share.

Revenue at Sears Holdings fell to about $2.9 billion in the quarter from $4.2 billion in the same period of 2017, with store closures contributing to nearly two thirds of the decline, the company said.

Comparable-store sales declined 11.9 percent during the quarter, comprised of a 9.5 percent decline at Kmart and a 13.4 percent decline at Sears.

Sears said comparable-store sales at both Kmart and Sears grew in several categories, including apparel, footwear and jewelry.

Shares in Sears Holdings closed at $2.81, down 12.5 percent from Wednesday’s close.

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