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Santa Fe Sears store closing

SANTA FE — Sears grew to become an iconic American corporation more than a century ago largely through what was ingenious marketing tool: the Sears catalogue.  Now, the emergence of online marketing in the 21st Century has taken a toll.

The Sears store at Santa Fe Place mall on the south side of the city will close by late July, a spokesman for Sears Holdings Corp. confirmed Tuesday, and a liquidation sale will begin Friday.

The Sears Auto Center, also located at the mall, also will be closing. No other Sears or Kmart stores, which are also owned by Sears Holdings, in New Mexico will be impacted.

“We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity, and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable stores as previously announced,” said a statement from Howard Riefs, Sears Holdings Corp.’s director of communications.

The corporation announced in January that it would be closing 26 Sears stores and 78 Kmart stores this spring. “The decision to close stores is a difficult but necessary step as we take actions to strengthen the Company’s operations and fund its transformation,” the corporation said at the time.

According to the corporation’s recent filings with the Securities Exchange Commission, Sears Holdings Corp. lost $2.2 billion last year and $5 billion over the last three years.  The company has 1,430 Sears stores nationwide, down from 3,800 in the U.S. and Canada a decade ago. There are 15 Sears stores and five auto centers in New Mexico — four in Albuquerque, including an appliance outlet store and one auto center.

Riefs wouldn’t say how many people are employed at the Sears store and auto center in Santa Fe, but noted that they would eligible for severance and could apply for open positions at other Sears or Kmart stores. He said employees were notified on May 4. Syracuse, NY-based Spinoso Real Estate Group, which manages Santa Fe Place, did not respond to messages seeking comment about how the closing would affect the mall.

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