The closing of a major retail outlet can have long-lasting effects on a community. Not only does it affect shoppers, but also employment opportunities. Small businesses located near the retailer lose traffic. Shopping centers end up abandoned, becoming vacant eyesores that depress property values, and can lead to an overall feeling of decline.
Just after Christmas, Sears Holdings Corp, the owner of both Sears and Kmart, announced that they were going to close between 100 to 120 local Sears and Kmart stores. The next day we published a partial list of the stores that would be closed.
While some cities are letting the stores go without a fuss, others are objecting and asking Sears Holding Corp to reconsider.
Harvey Johnson, Jr, the mayor of the City of Jackson, MS, started an online petition at Change.org. Johnson’s petition, which has currently garnered 3287 signatures, asks Sears to keep its Metrocenter Mall store open. He provides a strong argument in favor of keeping the store, saying that as part of an overall economic development strategy already being implemented “the City of Jackson will locate six city divisions at the Mall within 60 days that will bring more than 300 City employees to the facility and countless citizens to the Mall who would undoubtedly shop at Sears.”
Other cities that have voiced opposition to the closings include Cleveland, TN, Edgewater & New Smyrna Beach, FL, and Harper Woods, MI.
At this point it is unknown if Sears Holdings Corp will reconsider any of the store closings. The list of closings that Sears has released at the end of December contained just 79 of the proposed 100 to 120 closings – so there’s more to come. We will keep an eye on this story and provide updates as they happen.