It's the end of an era. Sears (NASDAQ: SHLD) has announced that it will be closing its flagship store on State Street in Chicago's Loop by spring. The company will start its liquidation sale at the location on Jan. 26 and shut its doors for good in April.
The news comes as Sears ramps up its efforts to cut expenses and rely more heavily on its e-commerce sales and operations. The store's closing is particularly poignant for the city of Chicago, too, given that the city is the retailer's hometown and sits just a few blocks from the Sears Tower, now known as the Willis Tower. The 40-year-old tower once housed the retailer's headquarters before it moved to its current location in Hoffman Estates.
The Sears flagship, which opened in May 2001, has lost "millions of dollars" over the years. Sears CEO, Eddie Lampert, commented on the store's closing and the company's future efforts via a blog post on the Sears website.
"The consensus about decreased store traffic also highlights another decision that has steered our work: we very often need less space to serve our members better and we may need fewer locations as well," Lampert wrote. "As difficult as these changes are, we believe the alternative of failing to plan for or even see where the retail industry is heading would be far, far worse."
Sears will continue to lease space at the 2 N. State St. building where more than 150 employees work in its online and information technology units.
The flagship closing is the latest in a string of dismal news from Sears, which has been struggling for several years. For the holiday season, Sears reported that sales at stores open at least a year fell 5.7 percent at Kmart stores and 9.2 percent at U.S. Sears stores for an overall decline of 7.4 percent. Sears will report full fourth-quarter results on Feb. 27.
For more see:
-this Sears blog post
Sears Files to Spin Off Lands' End Business
Sears Denies Rumors Of Canadian Unit Sale
Sears Reports Third Quarter Loss on Weak Same-Store Sales
Sears May Split Lands' End, Auto Center Business; Reports Sales Drop
Sears Revamps Appliance Stores To Improve Customer Experience