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Grayson Kmart to close

Parent company Sears files for bankruptcy

GRAYSON, KENTUCKY — The Kmart store in Grayson will close by the end of the year, company officials announced Monday.

Parent company Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday, buckling under its massive debt load and staggering losses.

The question now is whether a smaller version of the company that once towered over the American retail landscape can remain viable or whether the iconic brand will be forced out of business.

Sears, which started as a mail order catalog in the 1880s, has been on a slow march toward extinction as it lagged far behind its peers and incurred huge losses over the years.

“This is a company that in the 1950s stood like a colossus over the American retail landscape,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consultancy. “Hopefully, a smaller new Sears will be healthier.”

Sears Holdings, which operates both Sears and Kmart stores, will close 142 unprofitable stores near the end of the year, with liquidation sales expected to begin shortly. That’s in addition to the closure of 46 unprofitable stores that had already been announced. Edward S. Lampert, the company’s largest shareholder, has stepped down as CEO but will remain chairman of the board. A new Office of the CEO will be responsible for managing day-to-day operations.

Sears closed its stores at the KYOVA Mall in Ashland in 2014 and Charleston, West Virginia in 2017, but maintains a location at the Huntington Mall in Barboursville.

Kmart locations have closed in Ashland, South Point, New Boston and Huntington in recent years.

Kmart announced Monday that its Teays Valley, West Virginia store, as well as one of its Charleston, West Virginia locations were also among the closings in the region slated for 2018.

Kmart’s predecessor chain, the S.S. Kresge stores, once had a location in downtown Ironton.

— The Associated Press contributed to this story