Sears in MC to close doors in early 2019
MICHIGAN CITY – This time, the Sears store in Marquette Mall did not survive the cut.
Sears Holdings announced Thursday that it was closing 40 more Sears and Kmart stores and the last remaining major retailer at the floundering mall was on the list.
“As part of Sears Holdings’ processes to accelerate its strategic transformation and facilitate its financial restructuring, on Nov. 8 the company informed associates at 40 stores that we will be closing these Sears and Kmart stores in February 2019,” a statement on Sears’ website said.
Clarence Hulse, executive director of the Economic Development Corporation Michigan City, was not surprised.
“We are definitely sorry to see this icon leaving Michigan City’s retail landscape,” Hulse said Thursday, “but it’s not entirely surprising. Sears has held out for a very long time, weathering many economic droughts, but the bankruptcy was the last straw.”
Many people were surprised the Marquette Mall store was not included on a list Sears Holdings released in October of 142 stores that would be shuttered at the end of the year, and an earlier list of 46 stores that would close this month.
In Indiana, the earlier lists included Kmart stores in Griffith and Jasper, and Sears stores in Indianapolis, Terre Haute and Greenwood. The Michigan City store was the only one in Indiana on the latest list.
“Liquidation sales at these stores are expected to begin late next week,” the statement said. “The accompanying Sears Auto Store at these Sears stores will also be closing. This is in addition to the previously announced closure of 142 unprofitable stores expected to be completed near the end of the year.”
In its heyday, Sears operated about 1,000 stores. With the closures, Sears and Kmart combined will have less than 500 locations nationwide. The company earlier said it estimated about 400 could be profitable on their own if it survives bankruptcy.
Sears Holdings filed for bankruptcy Oct. 15, when the second list of store closures was announced.
With the pending loss of Sears, the August shuttering of Carson Pirie Scott, and the closure of JCPenney in 2015, the once-thriving Marquette Mall will have lost all three of its former anchor stores.
The future of the site remains uncertain, but the city is looking ahead.
“The city of Michigan City has already drafted a plan on the possibilities for Marquette redevelopment (as part of the 421 South Corridor Study),” Hulse said.
“We are hoping to work with the current and new owners to implement any future retail or mixed-use projects that will generate exciting new goods and services for our residents.”
— From staff reports