Santa Maria Kmart is one of 86 locations scheduled to close


The Santa Maria Kmart store has landed on the latest list of location closures for the struggling company.

The store, located at 2875 Santa Maria Way, is among 86 sites planned for closure by March 2019, according to a list submitted as part of Sears Holdings Corporation’s ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and financial restructuring plan submitted to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Those 86 locations include 80 stores, five Sears Auto Centers and one distribution center. The notice says store closing sales will begin soon.

Kmart has operated in Santa Maria since the mid-1970s, and the company apparently owns the building and land at its site on the southern edge of the city.

“Kmart has been a part of Santa Maria for decades, providing jobs, products, and services, and it is sad to see them go,” city spokesman Mark van de Kamp said Friday. “But it has been looming for a long time given the struggling retailer’s difficulties and previous decisions over recent years to close multiple stores across the country.”

He added the city will work with those interested in moving into the site in the future.

It’s not clear how many jobs will be lost when the Santa Maria Kmart store shuts down.

In November, the company announced the closure of its Santa Barbara Sears store, one of two large anchors at La Cumbre Plaza, with plans to shutter in February 2019.

In October, Goleta’s Kmart closed, with Target intending to take over the space at Storke Road and Hollister Avenue.

The closure of Goleta’s Kmart meant the loss of 146 jobs, according to information supplied to the state Employment Development Department. The Santa Barbara Sears store closure added up to another 72 jobs.

Meanwhile, Sears continues to operate a store at the Santa Maria Town Center mall — although the future of the company could put that location in peril.

In San Luis Obispo County, the company closed its San Luis Obispo Sears store in the summer of 2017 and shuttered its Arroyo Grande Kmart location in spring 2018. The Atascadero Kmart remains open.

Friday’s announcement came among reports that Sears, once the largest retailer in the world, might be near liquidation as a key court deadline came without any expected bids for the firm’s assets. Sears Holdings, the parent company of both Sears and Kmart, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in mid-October.

Sales at the stores have fallen dramatically in recent years, and the company has been hemorrhaging cash at an alarming rate. Sears officials have blamed a variety of factors, including competition from online vendors and a change in consumer buying habits.

At the time of the bankruptcy filing, Sears Holdings operated some 700 Sears and Kmart stores.

— Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.
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