Sears Holding Corp. announced its plans to close its Aiken outpost store and Sears Auto Center to the public by late April, the most recent action by the retail giant to close several other stores and focus instead on online sales.
The store, located at 2441 Whiskey Road in the Aiken Mall, will remain open until April 27 for customers, and will begin its liquidation sale beginning Friday, Feb. 7, according to Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications for Sears Holdings.
“The store is being closed because the lease was not renewed,” Riefs said. “Store closures are part of a series of actions we're taking to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base and accelerate the transformation of our business model.”
Riefs said the decision to close will better enable the retailer to focus on investments and further serving customers through mixed retail – at the store, online and in the home.
The Aiken Mall announced it would be under new management in November under Jones Lang LaSalle's Retail, a firm headquartered in Chicago, Ill.
Chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert, of Sears Holdings, posted a blog on Jan. 21 about the recent closings, stating the decrease in store traffic and increase in Internet sales was the overwhelming consensus for the industry.
“The consensus about decreased store traffic also highlights another decision that has steered our work – we very often need less space to service our members better and we may need fewer locations as well.”
Lampert said the decision to close stores was not considered lightly and the company understands the effects of shutting its doors for loyal associates who have given years of excellent service.
“The store in Aiken has 54 employees,” Riefs said. “Those associates that are eligible will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores. Most of the associates are part-time and/or hourly.”
Maayan Schechter is the city beat reporter with Aiken Standard. An Atlanta native, she has a mass communications-journalism degree from the University of North Carolina Asheville. Follow her on Twitter @MaayanSchechter.