The Kmart store in Oak Ridge will close in mid-December, the company said Monday.
“We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity, and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable stores as previously announced,” the company said in a statement. “We can confirm that we are making the difficult but necessary decision to close the Kmart store at 370 South Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge.”
The store will remain open to customers until the mid-December closing and start a liquidation sale on September 22.
“We often hear from our members who are disappointed when we close a store, but our Shop Your Way membership platform, websites, and mobile apps allow us to maintain these valued relationships long after a store closes its doors,” Kmart said in the statement. “As a result, we hope to retain a portion of the sales previously associated with this store by maintaining our relationships with the members who shopped this location.”
Kmart said its members and customers can also shop at other store locations, which are listed at http://www.kmart.com/stores.html.
Kmart said the number of associates affected by the Oak Ridge is not publicly available.
“Those associates that are eligible will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores,” the statement said. “Most of the associates are part time/hourly.”
Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce President Parker Hardy said the number one concern is for the people losing their jobs.
But if there is a silver lining, he said, it’s that there could be a chance for another retailer to locate in that space. It’s near the Hobby Lobby store that is under construction where the Kroger store used to be. Kmart is not renewing its lease, meaning its store property is not tied up, Hardy said.
WBIR-TV in Knoxville reported that five other Kmart stores are scheduled to close in Tennessee in Clarksville, Hixson, Memphis, Nashville, and Smyrna. Those closings were announced less than six months after Kmart closed the doors on 78 stores nationwide, the television station said.
According to a press release, Kmart and Sears Domestic comparable store sales declined 3.3 percent and 7.0 percent in the second quarter of 2016, WBIR reported.
More information will be added as it becomes available.