In a symbolic milestone, Sears will soon close its last store in Chicago — the city the iconic retailer has called home or been closely connected to for 120 years.
The Chicago storefront is part of a batch of 265 Sears and Kmart locations that were purchased by the real estate investment trust Seritage Growth Properties in 2015, then leased back by the retailer. An investment firm owned by Eddie Lampert, Sears Holdings’ CEO, has a significant ownership stake in Seritage.
Sears, has closed hundreds of stores since the start of 2017 amid sluggish sales and the shifting tastes of shoppers who increasingly prefer to buy online or from rival retailers like Walmart and Best Buy.
But the shuttering of the last Sears in Chicago is especially poignant. The city has been tied to the retailer’s identity since it first moved its headquarters there from Minnesota in 1887 and later put its stamp on the city’s skyline with the Sears Tower, the tallest building in the world when it became Sears’ corporate base in 1973.
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“Although we are disappointed by this last store closure in Chicago, by no means does this change our commitment to our customers and presence to Chicago’s residents,” the company said in a statement.
Sears raised $100 million in new funding and forecast a smaller loss in the fourth quarter, sending its shares higher. Newslook
Sears, which also owns Kmart, has struggled financially in recent years, laying off scores of employees, borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars and dealing with credit downgrades. But in its most recent earnings period, the company reported a profit thanks to a boost by the new federal tax law.
The retailer says it will continue to streamline operations and promote its Shop Your Way loyalty membership program, among other moves, to help it regain its relevance and footing.
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