Southeastern PA

Local Sears among dozens to close across country

Sears closing in Coventry Mall

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - Sears Holdings released a partial list Thursday of the Sears and Kmart stores it plans to close in the new year.

Among the 79 stores on the list is the Sears at the Coventry Mall in North Coventry Twp., Chester Co., near Pottstown.

Sears is one of three department stores to anchor the mall. The others are Kohl's and Exeter Twp., Berks Co.-based Boscov's.

"We have an experienced and talented staff of leasing agents equipped to deal with this," Jeff Price, the Coventry Mall's property manager, told 69 News on Thursday. "Once we are officially notified, we handle the situation accordingly."

Several Sears customers said they were upset by the news.

"It's really sad to see the store closing. It's been around ever since I can remember, all my life really," said John Steven of Pottstown. "I guess it's just a sign of the times."

No Kmart stores in Pennsylvania made the closure list, and all Kmart and Sears stores in New Jersey were spared.

Sears has not yet announced closing dates for the affected stores. There was also no immediate word on how many jobs will be lost.

The company announced Tuesday that it planned to close 100 to 120 Sears and Kmart stores as the retailer continues to struggle with declining sales.

Same-store revenue fell 5.2 percent to date for the quarter at both Sears and Kmart, the company said.

Kmart's declining sales were blamed on diminished layaways and a drop in clothing and consumer electronics sales.

Sears cited lackluster consumer electronics and home appliance sales.

The company said the store closings will generate between $140 and $170 million in cash in inventory sales.

The retailer also anticipates additional proceeds from the sale or sublease of real estate holdings, but the announcement raised new doubts among analysts about whether the 125-year-old Sears will ultimately be able to survive.

The other Pennsylvania Sears set to close is located in Upper Darby, near Philadelphia.

But for many faithful shoppers at the Coventry Mall, they said it will be hard to say goodbye to their Sears.

"I'm pretty sure it's not only devastating to me. I'm pretty sure it's devastating to a lot of people because Sears is Sears," said Haylee Emery of Pottstown.

Sears has more than 4,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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