Columbus and Auburn Kmarts closing - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus and Auburn Kmarts closing

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Two local Kmart stores will be closing their doors for good. 

This comes after their parent company, Sears Holdings Corporation, announced this week the closing of 100 to 120 Sears and Kmart stores following reports of poor holiday sales.

"We need Kmart.  We want Kmart.  We would love for Kmart to stay," said Kmart customer Berlinda Jones.

Jones and other Kmart customers are sad because their neighborhood Kmart at 5600 Milgen Road in Columbus will be closing.

"It's convenient for us to get to.  They're reasonable and they have good prices for us to work with.  You know, we just need them in our neighborhood," said Jones.

The Milgen Road Kmart will join ranks with the Kmart in Auburn at 2047 E. University Drive and 100 to 120 other Sears and Kmart stores shutting down. 

The retailer says store revenue fell 5.2% at both Sears and Kmart nationwide.

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

Parent company Sears Holding Corporation says closing the doors should generate $140 to $170 million in revenue.

The almost empty parking lot at the Milgen Road Kmart is a stark contrast to the Wal-Mart off Gateway Road about 3 miles up the street.

"I try to avoid over there because it is always very, very packed with a lot of customers.  And, then, I come here because I know I can get in and out because there are not very many customers usually here.  I hate to say that," said Kmart customer Danesha Little.

Little says she is now concerned for the other stores in the shopping center.

"When people come here for Kmart, people say, ‘Oh I need to go over here to get some hair products or I need to go here to get something to eat.'  So, I really feel like this is going to be a big loss for this whole area," said Little.

Workers, like Steve Cato, at Mimi Beauty say they are shocked about the closing, but they do not expect to see much change in business.

"We still have our normal people that know us, and you know, they still come around, and new customers, we have no problem with that.  They know about us from other people," said Cato.

Sears Holding Corporations says the dates for the store closings have not been set. 

They also have not announced if employees will be let go or if they will be offered positions at other Kmart stores. 

The company did not provide the number of associates impacted but did say a typical store that is closing employs 40 to 80 people.

The list of closings released Thursday is a partial list of the 100 to 120 stores closing.  We do not know when a complete list will be available.

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