Craig store manager confident local Kmart will avoid closure

Quotable

“I don’t foresee us closing here. They haven’t told us anything yet and I don’t make the decisions, but I think we are pretty safe.”

— Cody Ransberger, Craig Kmart store manager, about the announcement by Sears Holdings Corporation to close 100 to 120 Kmart and Sears retail locations

A final decision on the future of Craig’s Kmart and its more than 50 employees will be made at the corporate office more than 1,200 miles away.

Sears Holdings Corporation, headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Ill., announced Tuesday it will be closing 100 to 120 Kmart and Sears full-line stores.

A partial list, encompassing 79 retail locations slated for closure, was released following the announcement.

Included on that list are Kmart locations in Glenwood Springs and Broomfield, and a Sears full-line store in Longmont.

The corporation cited a struggling economy as the reason behind its decision, according to a news release issued Tuesday.

“Given our performance and the difficult economic environment, especially for big-ticket items, we intend to implement a series of actions to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” chief executive officer Lou D’Ambrosio said in the release. “These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers through integrated retail — at the store, online and in the home.”

Sears Holdings expects the closings to generate $140 to $170 million in cash from the sale of leftover inventory, plus additional funds from the sublease and/or sale of related real estate.

In addition to the store closings, the corporation intends to reduce 2012 peak domestic inventory by $300 million, focus on improving profits through better inventory management, and reduce fixed costs by $100 to $200 million in the coming year.

What exactly the closures mean for the local store, if anything, is unknown.

Cody Ransberger, Craig Kmart store manager, said he doesn’t believe the local outlet is in danger.

“I don’t foresee us closing here,” Ransberger said. “They haven’t told us anything yet and I don’t make the decisions, but I think we are pretty safe.”

Ransberger said the Craig Kmart, which encompasses approximately 90,000 square feet, brings in about $6 million in revenue each year and serves about 500 customers daily.

“I really don’t think we’re in any jeopardy,” Ransberger said. “We’re doing just fine.”

Craig resident Judy Espinoza shops at the local Kmart about twice a month.

She said having the retailer in town ensures local residents have access to a variety of products.

“Walmart would have no competition if Kmart closed, and I think they need competition,” Espinoza said. “And it seems like if you can’t find something at Walmart, you can always find it here, and I like that.”

The impact of Kmart’s closure would extend beyond Craig and Moffat County, said Clay and Tanya Evans, of Baggs, Wyo.

The couple visits Craig every two weeks to run errands.

“She loves Kmart,” Clay said of his wife. “A stop at Kmart may not always be on our list, but we always end up here whenever we come to Craig.”

Clay and Tanya have two children, Easton, 1, and Aspen, 4.

Tanya said she shops at Kmart because of the children’s department.

“We’d be missing a lot (if Kmart closed),” Tanya said. “Walmart just doesn’t have the same selection of kids stuff. Kmart just has more kids’ clothing and toys.

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