Sears just reminded us all it’s a zombie retailer

Selina Johansson

Just like a zombie, Sears continues to show that it refuses to die

But one market this zombie will no longer be patrolling is its own backyard of Illinois. The company — bankrupt since 2018 and now known as Transformco — said this week it will close its last remaining Sears store in the state on Nov. 14, 2021. A nearby Kmart store had previously been closed

Sears headquarters is in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The Sears store at Woodfield Mall opened in 1969, and was the location’s first anchor tenant. 

“Transformco plans to close the Sears store located in Schaumburg, Ill. in order to redevelop and reinvigorate the property. This is part of the company’s strategy to unlock the value of the real estate and pursue the highest and best use for the benefit of the local community,” a Sears spokesperson told Yahoo Finance via email. 

On that point, it appears Transformco —which is essentially a property holding company looking to sell off former Sears and Kmart locations — has been shopping the 30.4-acre lot that housed the low-trafficked Woodfield Mall store. 

Kokomo – Circa May 2017: Recently shuttered Sears Retail Mall Location. According to a regulatory filing, Sears Holdings Corp. lost more than $2 billion in 2016 XI

In a sign of how far Sears has fallen from its heydays, the property listing points out the surrounding demographics of the Westfield Mall store sports household incomes of $114,000. That’s a solid chunk of change… which has likely been going into the coffers of other anchor tenants Macy’s and Nordstrom for years.

Nevertheless, Transformco is holding out hope that one day, eventually it will return to relevancy. 

Added the spokesperson, “Transformco’s go-forward store strategy for Sears and Kmart is to operate a diversified portfolio consisting of a small number of larger, premier stores with a larger number of small format stores — combined with its Shop Your Way rewards program, online marketplace and buy online, pick up in store capabilities. The company will continue to expand both Hometown Stores and Home & Life stores in cities and towns that previously had larger format stores.”

The spokesperson declined to say how many Sears and Kmart stores are still open. 

According to map analysis, there are about 33 Sears stores and 18 Kmart stores still left open across the country.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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