Local manager says latest Kmart closures will not impact his store

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Kmart Corp. Tuesday said thousands will lose jobs with the closure of 326 stores nationwide in the company's latest round of belt-tightening that looks to miss the Craig outlet once again.

"This store's not closing," said Derick Zuver, who has managed the Craig store for just over a year. "Year-to-date the store is still doing better."

Closures announced Tuesday by Kmart will affect stores in 44 states, with Texas losing 54 stores and a distribution center, according to the Associated Press. Florida will lose 24 stores, California 19, North Carolina 18 and Georgia 16.

Six stores in Colorado will close, while between 30,000 and 35,000 employees nationally will lose jobs.

This, after a 2002 that started with the company's filing for Chapter 11 protection from creditors and the closure of 283 stores and 22,000 jobs cut.

In Craig, management has cut six positions from a bolstered holiday workforce. The store now employs 83 people, many of whom were briefed in recent days leading up to Tuesday's announcement.

"Most of them understand and we went through the last round of closings with a good understanding of what was going on," Zuver said.

Stores that were losing money and those with unfavorable lease terms were generally targeted in Tuesday's cuts, Zuver said, who has cited the geography of the closures and Wal-Mart's foothold in those areas.

"We're pulling out of some markets," he said.

Craig's K-mart remains a dominant retailer serving the city and beyond, said Jim Ferree, Craig's city manager.

"It's obviously a big store for the Yampa Valley and it would be a significant loss, but probably for those same reasons it will survive," Ferree said.

"Even during the first round of cuts, we were fairly confident it would survive."

The store is consistently among the top sales tax generators

for the city.

"The loss would have a significant impact on our budget," Ferree said.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com.

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