Sears will shut down its last brick-and-mortar store at Simon Property Group’s Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg in Illinois on Nov. 14, 2021, which for many marks the end of an era. According to Transformco spokesman, the decision was part of the company’s strategy to unlock the real estate value and revive the space with another tenant.
Founded in 1892, Sears, Roebuck, and Company became the largest retailer in the nation with over 1,600 stores as of 2016. The business blossomed through much of the 20th century. The stores sold everything from homes to apparel.
The company opened 50 years ago and operated over 3,000 stores, at its peak. When the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2018, it had 700 stores barren of goods. After years of decline, Transformco acquired the retailer.
Transformco’s real estate division president, Scott Carr, said, in a statement, that the company plans to redevelop the Woodfield Mall property to maximize the value to reinvigorate the value of the real estate.
Critics of former Sears Holdings Eddie Lampert CEO argued he was more interested in real estate than its retail operations. As a result, Lampert redeveloped many of the company’s locations, and it later sued him for allegedly stripping the company’s assets.
Sears is such an icon in the Chicago area and the nation, said Schaumburg Mayor Tom Dailly told the newspaper. Sears is not only a local brand but an international brand.
Sears will continue its presence in Illinois with 11 Sears Hometown Stores in Chicago operated by independent dealers or franchisees or Transformco affiliates. The stores are between 6,000-8,000 square feet and sell mainly appliances and hard goods.
COVID-19 decimated the department store industry, forcing high-end retailers like Neiman Marcus and budget department stores like JCPenny into bankruptcy.
Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
FOX Business: Sears closing final big store in home state; by Breck Dumas
CNBC: Sears is shutting its last store in Illinois, its home state; by Lauren Thomas
MSN: Sears is closing its last department store in Illinois, the retailer’s home state; by Ramishah Maruf
Images Courtesy of Mike Kalasnik’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License