QUINCY — Sears Holdings has confirmed it will close its store in the Quincy Mall in mid-August.
A Sears spokesman confirmed the plans Thursday after employees were notified of the decision.
“We are making the difficult, but necessary decision to close the Sears store and Sears Auto Center in Quincy. The store will close to the public in mid-August, and the Auto Center will close in late May,” a corporate news release said.
“The store will begin its liquidation sale on May 25. We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity, and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable stores as previously announced. This is not an effort solely aimed at cost savings but is part of a strategy we have been executing as many of our larger stores are too big for our needs. Having fewer stores – and the right format – will help us bring Sears Holdings to a size and place to meet the realities of the changing retail world.”
Scott Hopkins, Quincy store manager, said there are 23 associates, both full- and part-time, at the store. Sears Holdings said associates who are eligible will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at other area Sears or Kmart stores.
The Quincy Kmart store at 30th and Broadway will remain open.
Sears has a 90-year history in Quincy.
Sears and Roebuck first opened a store downtown in 1928. It moved to a newly built store in the Town and Country Shopping Center in 1962. The store became part of the Quincy Mall at the same site in 1978. Sears Holdings still owns the building.
Dave Boster, whose first part-time job with Sears began in 1969, went on to become manager of the Quincy store and did stints in several other stores before leaving the manager’s job in 2009. Boster said Sears has been on a long slide since becoming an icon in American business after opening its first retail store in 1925.
“I think Sears as a company lost its way many years ago. The company leadership recently has been more about selling off the pieces of the company rather than aggressively going after the retail business,” Boster said.
At the time Boster left the Quincy store in 2009, he estimates there were 100 full- and part-time employees, with about 40 full-time-equivalent workers.
Sears Holdings has reported more than $10.8 billion in losses nationwide since 2010. Last year, the company closed nearly a fifth of its U.S. stores, eliminating more than 50,000 jobs.
Sears’ closure at the Quincy Mall also will mean that the three original retail mall anchors — JCPenney, Bergner’s and Sears — will be gone. JCPenney closed in 2015, and that space in the Quincy Mall is now occupied by Slumberland and smaller shops. Bergner’s currently has marked down merchandise with closure expected no later than Aug. 31.
Anaise Berry, director of marketing and communications for Cullinan Property Ltd., which owns the mall, said the closure reflects a nationwide restructuring and closures by Sears.
“We have been notified of the Quincy Sears closure, which is not indicative of the Quincy Mall store’s performance, as the Quincy Mall Sears has been a well-performing store,” Berry said in a news release.
“Sears owns the 72,828-square-foot space and store at Quincy Mall, in addition to the 3,077-square-foot automotive center. Cullinan Properties has an excellent working relationship with the city of Quincy and will continue working with the city and Sears to find the best solution for Quincy Mall and the Quincy community to backfill the space.”
Berry said that although some retailers are facing challenges elsewhere, the Quincy market remains attractive to retailers.