Difficult economic news for Richland County came this week when the following press release was issued by Transform HoldCo LLC, the entity formed earlier this year to hold the assets of Sears Holding Corporation.

“Over the past several months, we have worked hard to strengthen our vendor relationships, return our inventory levels to normal, and improve customer satisfaction and operations; however, we have faced a number of challenges returning our stores to sustainable levels of productivity, including differences with Sears Holdings over our purchase agreement and a generally weak retail environment. These challenges have unfortunately affected our performance and limited our strategic choices.

After careful review of where we are today, we believe the right course for the company is to accelerate the expansion of our smaller store formats which includes opening additional Home & Life stores and adding several hundred Sears Hometown stores after the Sears Hometown and Outlet transaction closes.

We have made the difficult but necessary decision to close 26 large-format Sears and Kmart stores in late October. The Sears Auto Centers at any of these stores will close in late August. Liquidation sales at these stores are expected to begin around August 15.

As we promised, all eligible associates will be offered the same number of weeks of severance as offered to employees of Sears Holdings Corporation prior to that company’s Chapter 11 filing in October 2018.

Following these steps, we will continue to evaluate our network of Sears and Kmart stores and cannot rule out additional store closures in the near term. Our goal remains to return the company to profitability and preserve as many jobs as possible in the communities we serve.

Customers can use the store locator function on our web sites to find the location of their nearest Kmart and Sears stores.”

The Sears store at the Richland Mall in Ontario is the only Ohio location included in this list of closures.

Photo: 1812Blockhouse File Photo

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