Kmart closing store in St. Clair Shores, Kroger to open new grocery there
Kmart says it will close its store in St. Clair Shores early next year as the struggling and fast-shrinking discount chain prepares to sell the property to Kroger for redevelopment.
Kmart notified the state this week that it plans to lay off the store’s 127 workers beginning January 7. That closure will leave Michigan with just 20 Kmarts, down from 38 at the start of 2017, according to corporate filings and closure announcements.
Unlike some shuttered Kmarts, the St. Clair Shores store at 22801 Harper Ave. won’t linger as vacant big box.
Kroger plans to buy the property, demolish the store and build a new Kroger. A Kroger spokeswoman said plans for the grocery are still subject to city approval and no construction schedule has been set.
Kmart’s parent company, Sears Holdings, has been closing hundreds of Kmarts and Sears stores this year as it hemorrhages cash. Retail experts have questioned how much longer the company can remain in business.
Kmart was once the second-largest retailer in the U.S. after Sears, but fell behind Walmart in 1990 and never regained form. Kmart’s problems have grown more acute in recent years amid changing shopper behaviors, competition from the Internet and the general challenge of attracting shoppers to aging Kmart stores that haven’t seen renovations.
If there is a silver lining to this latest Kmart closing announcement for St. Clair Shores, it is the pending Kroger redevelopment deal.
“At least in this particular situation there is a transaction lined up, which is a good thing,” said Alex Calderone, managing director of Calderone Advisory Group, a Birmingham-based turnaround consulting firm.
“It is always nice to re-purpose real estate, as opposed to leaving it vacant, so we’re not going to have another eyesore that’s a monument to the current retail apocalypse,” Calderone said.
The original article was posted here for the Detroit Free Press.
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