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Updated: 10:47 a.m. Friday, Dec. 30, 2011 | Posted: 3:12 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011

4 Kmart stores to close in Atlanta area



By George Mathis

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

At least four Kmart stories will close in the Atlanta area as part of a massive restructuring by Sears Holdings.

The four Kmart stores are located in Atlanta, Buford, Douglasville and Jonesboro. No Sears stores in the Atlanta area will close according to a partial list of store closings posted by Sears Holdings. The list contains 79 stores, but more stores -- up to 120 total -- are expected to close.

The Atlanta-area Kmart stores currently slated for closing are located at:

* 230 Cleveland Ave S.W., Atlanta

* 1605 Buford Highway, Buford

* 9552 Highway 5, Douglasville

* 7965 Tara Boulevard, Jonesboro

A Macon Sears located at 3661 Eisenhower Parkway will also close. [Complete list]

After disappointing Christmas sales, the company reported many poorly-performing stores would close. Sears would not discuss how many, if any, jobs will be lost.

Sears Holdings Corp., based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., said that the store closings will generate $140 to $170 million in cash from inventory sales. The retailer anticipates additional proceeds from the sale or sublease of real estate holdings.

The company, which operates Kmart stores, Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Land's End, has seen rival department stores like Macy's Inc. and discounters like Target Corp. steal customers away. But the economy has put a sustained financial squeeze on its most loyal customers, those in the middle-income bracket.

Same-store revenue fell 5.2 percent to date for the quarter at both Sears and Kmart, the company said Tuesday. That includes the critical holiday shopping period, a time that most retailers depend on for a sales surge that will put them in the black.

Kmart's 6 percent decline in revenue at stores open at least a year was blamed on diminished layaways and a drop in clothing and consumer electronics sales. Sears' cited lackluster consumer electronics and home appliance sales for its 4.4 percent drop off. Sears' clothing sales were flat, while sales of Lands' End products at Sears stores rose mid-single digits.

Sears Holdings said that the declining sales, ongoing margin pressure and rising expenses pulled its adjusted earnings lower. The company predicts fourth-quarter consolidated adjusted earnings will be less than half the prior-year period's $933 million. It also anticipates a non-cash charge of $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion in the quarter for a valuation allowance on some deferred tax assets.

Sears Holdings has more than 4,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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