Sears stores have struggled with a consumer shift toward online shopping, tough competition from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp., and what analysts have decried as a cycle of underinvestment in stores, which many shoppers see as exhausted or lacking inventory, Crain's reported.
"We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity, and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable stores as previously announced", said Howard Riefs, a Kmart spokesman, in an email.
The only Chicago-area store among the 20 closing is on North Harlem Avenue in Galewood, Riefs said.
The stores in Mentor and Middleburg Heights will close in mid-September, a Sears spokesman told FOX 8 News on Friday.
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These closures come in addition to the closing of 226 stores - 164 Kmart stores and 62 Sears stores- already announced this year, according to research firm Fung Global & Retail Technology, which tracks retailers' closings.
Kohl's and J.C. Penney will also benefit from the closures, (even though J.C. Penney is also shuttering underperforming locations), with J.C. Penney particularly benefiting from Sears closures due to their customer overlap. Sears has almost halved its store footprint since 2012, from 2,019 then to fewer than 1,200 this year, once all planned closures are made. Sears Canada filed for protection from its creditors under Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, the equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, on Thursday.
Partners REIT (TSX:PAR.UN) said Thursday that the value of its Cornwall Square mall may be affected by the loss of the Sears Outlet store.
RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust (TSX:REI.UN) says the restructuring of Sears Canada is expected to have a far smaller impact on its business than when Target closed up shop in Canada.