Thursday, August 11, 2022

The time has come for Williamsburg’s Kmart

Kmart in Williamsburg has closed. (WYDaily/Sarah Fearing)
Kmart in Williamsburg has closed. (WYDaily/Sarah Fearing)

The time has come: Kmart is officially closed.

The Kmart at 118 Waller Mill Road in Williamsburg — one of only two Kmart stores on the Virginia Peninsula — closed its doors for a final day Sunday.

On Monday, a large white sign posted on the building’s front door read “WE ARE CLOSED.”

The closure comes nearly three months after Kmart’s parent company, Sears Holdings Corporation, filed documents as part of a petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief.

For several months, Kmart has been holding liquidation sales, selling off the last of its merchandise with escalating sales, as well as equipment and display racks.

The Waller Mill Kmart was one of 142 stores nationwide Sears Holdings announced it was going to close during the bankruptcy process.

In October, Sears said the stores would close “near the end of the year.”

The stores that closed were under-performing; 98 of the stores were unprofitable in fiscal year 2017 and the other 44 produced “flat or marginal profits.”

By closing the under-performing stores, Sears anticipates cost savings as well as more than $40 million in cash.

The bankruptcy filing comes after a years-long effort to make the company profitable again, Sears Holdings Chairman Edward S. Lampert said in the bankruptcy filing.

“While we have made progress, the plan has yet to deliver the results we have desired, and addressing the Company’s immediate liquidity needs has impacted our efforts to become a profitable and more competitive retailer,” Lampert said. “The Chapter 11 process will give Holdings the flexibility to strengthen its balance sheet, enabling the Company to accelerate its strategic transformation, continue right sizing its operating model, and return to profitability. Our goal is to achieve a comprehensive restructuring as efficiently as possible.”

Lampert added, “We also thank our associates for their hard work and commitment to providing millions of Americans with value and convenience.”

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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