published Friday, December 30th, 2011

Bradley Sears facing closure

The Bradley Square Mall’s Sears, one of four anchor stores in the 20-year-old shopping center, will close early next year, Sears officials announced Thursday.

The 51,000-square-foot store is one of as many as 120 Sears and Kmarts that will be shut down across the country next year after the retail giant suffered disappointing holiday sales.

The space is owned by Bradley Square Mall and has been occupied by Sears since the mall opened in 1991.

Mall spokeswoman Stacia Shahan said she hasn’t officially been notified of the closure, but said the mall would consider leasing the space in its entirety or breaking it up to two or three units to accommodate other retailers.

“We feel confident we’d be able to fill it easily,” she said. “We’ve had a ton of interest in the mall.”

The number of employees affected by the closing wasn’t available Thursday afternoon, but Sears officials said the typical store employs 40 and 80 people.

The Oak Ridge Mall Sears also faces a shutdown, as do those in Antioch, Tenn., and Macon, Ga. Five Kmarts in Georgia and one in Tennessee will also close.

Sears officials said in a media release that declining electronics and home appliance sales, coupled with rising expenses, forced the closures. The retail giant estimates the closings will save $170 million.

The 120 closings represent about 3 percent of the retailer’s 3,560 stores.

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