Sears first opened its doors in Chicago in February 1925. Nearly a century later, the department store — the last Sears location in the city, which sits at the “Six Corners” intersection between Milwaukee, Cicero and Irving Park roads — is reportedly closing mid-July.
“The store will remain open for customers in the meantime and will begin its liquidation sale by April 27,” said Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications at Sears told The Chicago Tribune.
The news arrives just days after reports surfaced that its parent company Sears Holding Corp. was looking to sell 16 of its properties, ranging from anchor tenants in malls to freestanding stores, through an online auction. This year, the company also announced it would shutter 64 Kmart stores and 39 stores, with the majority closing by April.
“Over the last 18 months, the company has executed a series of real estate transactions where we sell owned stores and the stores go on leases and continue their operation,” Riefs confirmed.
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These moves further point to the bleak retail landscape as longstanding brick-and-mortar stores scramble to navigate e-commerce and figure out ways to boost their digital footprint. Other traditional department stores like JCPenney and Macy’s have also faced similar realities, pivoting to digital and leaving behind shuttered stores in their wake.
As devastating as the closing of Sears’ last Chicago store is, it’s not necessarily the death knell for the retailer. Consumers are still able to shop online (Chicago residents have access to neighboring Sears locations in the suburbs) and last year, Sears announced its plan to roll out small-format stores, like the Sears Appliances outposts, with the hope to launch similar ones in the future.