Struggling Kmart to close Harlingen store

HARLINGEN — The Kmart at 1129 Morgan Boulevard, which avoided a round of company closings earlier this year that shuttered a Brownsville store, is going out of business.

A company spokesman and local employees said today the store will shut down by mid-December.

“We can confirm that we are making the difficult, but necessary decision to close the Kmart store at 1129 Morgan Blvd., Harlingen,” said company spokesman Howard Riefs via email.

“The store will close to the public in mid-December. It’s important for you to know that until then, the store will remain open for customers,” Riefs said.

“The store will begin its liquidation sale on Sept. 22,” he said.

The Harlingen Kmart, a subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corp., this year received a $100,000 renovation.

The end of the Harlingen Kmart location is one of 64 such closings nationwide. Kmarts in Lubbock and Abilene also are on the list.

The fact that Kmart and its parent company Sears Holdings Corp. are in financial trouble isn’t new. Last week, Moody’s analysts downgraded Sears’ liquidity rating, saying the company was losing money and would be forced to obtain outside funding or sell off real estate to keep running.

In its second-quarter report, Sears Holdings said net sales fell 8.8 percent to $5.7 billion for the quarter. Same-store sales were down 7 percent at Sears stores and 3.3 percent at Kmart.

“We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity, and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable stores as previously announced.” Riefs said.

“We often hear from our members who are disappointed when we close a store, but our Shop Your Way membership platform, websites and mobile apps allow us to maintain these valued relationships long after a store closes its doors,” he added.

“As a result, we hope to retain a portion of the sales previously associated with this store by maintaining our relationships with the members who shopped this location,” Riefs said.

The company did not disclose the number of workers at the Harlingen Kmart — most of whom are part-time — who would lose their jobs.

Riefs said those workers would receive severance and have the option of applying for open positions at area Sears stores or other Kmart stores.

Kmart will have one location left in the Rio Grande Valley located at 1802 South 10th St. in McAllen.

For more on the story read Wednesday’s Valley Morning Star.