What Sears and Kmart closings tell us about the future of retailing


DALTON, FORT OGLETHORPE (WDEF) – The old names continue to go away, while new names replace them online.

Is this the future of retailing in America?

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Yes, and NO.

On Wednesday, Sears/Kmart announced another round of store closing that are hitting close to home.

Sears is adding 16 more stores to the 180 already announced that they plan to close in 2017.

The new list includes the Sears store at Walnut Square Mall in Dalton.

The store will close in September with a liquidation sale beginning on June 16.

You can read more on the closing in the Dalton Daily Citizen-News.

A Sears Holdings official tells the paper “We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable stores as previously announced.”

Sears still has locations in Fort Payne, Hixson & Hamilton Place Mall.

But CBL & Associates has bought the property of 6 stores (including Northgate & Hamilton Place) with the idea of controlling future closings.

However, Sears is holding a grand-reopening of their Tullahoma store, to highlight that their new emphasis is on appliances.

Half of the store will be stocked with new appliances.


The company also runs Kmart stores and announced the closing of 49 of their remaining locations.

The new list includes stores in Fort Oglethorpe and Calhoun, Georgia.

Ironically, the last Kmart in our area is in Dalton.


As these national retailers wind down in the U.S., consumers have to wonder who is next.

This spring, Moody’s identified 19 national chains that are in danger.

Sears and Kmart owner Sears Holdings (SHLD), J. Crew, Payless, Claire’s, Rue21, Gymboree, Toms Shoes, David’s Bridal and Totes.

But larger retailers like Macy’s and Targets have reported poor earnings this year.

So will they all go under as we continue to shop on Amazon?

Here is a reality check from a Forbes expert in May.

Steve Dennis says..

1) there is a retail bubble, just like the housing bubble ten years ago. We are “over-stored and over-malled” in the U.S. right now. So expect more failures.

2) HOWEVER, retail is still growing and new stores are still opening. But the growth is in off price/dollar stores and the new big chain stores are smaller.

3) The new retail that is working focuses on “experiencial improvements.” And malls are “reformatting” with restaurants, theaters, and hot specialty formats.

Still, his conclusion is that brick and mortar stores will be with us for a long time to come.

Just the names will change as the old guard passes away.