Sears Hometown store closing July 23


The Sears Hometown store, located at 1572 State Route 22 NW in Washington Court House, will close on July 23.

The store is one of between 90 and 100 Sears Hometown stores that will be closed this quarter. Last quarter, 20 were closed.

The stores are being closed in an effort to cut costs, according to Sears Hometown & Outlet Inc. CEO Will Powell. In a statement, Powell said the money from the liquidation of the closing stores’ inventory will be used to pay down debt.

The closing of Sears Hometown stores follows a poor 2017 and a rough first quarter of 2018. The company’s net sales for the 2017 fiscal year decreased $350.1 million, 0r 16.9 percent, as compared to net sales in the 2016 fiscal year, according to a Sears press release. In addition, the company recorded operating losses of $87.4 million. In the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year, Sears Hometown stores that had been open at least a year saw sales drop 10.5 percent as compared to the first quarter of the 2017 fiscal year.

One bright spot for Sears Hometown & Outlet, Inc. has been online sales. According to a statement from the company, “hometown online sales for the fourth quarter of 2017 were up 290% compared to the fourth quarter of 2016… we expect Hometown on-line sales will become an increasingly more meaningful contributor to our business in 2018.”

As brick-and-mortar stores continue to close, shoppers may increasingly turn to online shopping.

Sears Hometown isn’t the only retail giants to shutter stores this year. Toys ‘R’ Us is currently in the process of closing its more than 700 U.S. stores, a move that could cost 33,000 Americans their jobs. In addition, Sears Holdings, from which Sears Hometown & Outlet Inc. was spun off in 2012, has announced plans to close more than 300 Kmart and Sears stores. H.H. Gregg is also closing all 220 of its stores and laying off thousands of employees due to bankruptcy.

While large retail stores are suffering, many smaller stores that offer unique, personalized experiences are increasingly thriving. For example, Ulta Beauty currently operates 1,000 stores in 48 states and has plans to add 100 more stores across the country. Warby Parker is also expanding its brick-and-mortar presence. The eyeglasses retailer, which began as an online-only company in 2010, opened its first physical store in 2013. By the end of 2018, it expects to operate nearly 100 brick-and-mortar stores across the country.

The Sears Hometown store at 1572 State Route 22 NW will close July 23. Sears Hometown store at 1572 State Route 22 NW will close July 23.

By Megan Neary

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Reach Megan Neary at 614-440-9124