Earlier in the year, Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) disclosed that it was closing some of its stores and indeed it went ahead to close 150 stores. This seems to have been just but a beginning because details have emerged that another 72 stores are on the verge of closure including those at Westland and Eastland Malls. The said stores include 16 Sears stores, 49 Kmart stores, and seven auto centers.
Sears has been operating 2,000 for the last five years. However, it says that it is purposing on a continuation evaluation of store productivity thus raising the need for the closure of the unprofitable ones. The latest closing will reduce the number the stores to about 1,200.
The Westland Mall has been abandoned for long
The 860,000 square foot Westland Mall opened its doors to business in 1969. Sears was the first chain store to set foot in it and it remained an anchor retail store for the region through the late 90s. However, the sprouting of other top status stores the likes of The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, Easton Town Center and the Polaris Fashion Place held back its success.
It did not take long before tenants began shutting doors to their businesses and in the coming fall, the last ones will exit. There have been several discussions regarding the Westland Mall property. The idea has been to make the site a catalytic development project, which could spur new interest on the west side of Columbus.
In an interview with Columbus Underground, car dealership owner Chris Haydocy outlined, “This is a gateway into Columbus on West Broad, and it’s quite frustrating, every day, seeing no action on it.”
A tough year for many large chain retail operators
At least every large chain retail operator has something to say about 2017 a year the claim to have been tough for their businesses. For Sears, it is not clear how many employees will be affected by the closures but the company says it will be offering severance pay. The employees are also eligible to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores.