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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
After mid-January’s closure at 7530 S. Anthony Blvd., Fort Wayne will have one Kmart remaining.
South Anthony Kmart to close doors

Neighborhood laments loss of South Anthony Kmart

Kmart on Fort Wayne’s southeast side is closing after Christmas.

Sears Holdings Corp., parent company of the retailer, said in a Thursday statement that the outlet at 7530 S. Anthony Blvd. will shut its doors for good in mid-January.

“Until then, the store will remain open for customers,” spokesman Howard Riefs said in an email. “The store will begin its liquidation sale on October 27.”

No other stores in Indiana are closing. Kmart also has a store at 820 Coliseum Blvd. N.

The South Anthony store employs 70 workers. They will have an opportunity to apply for positions at other Kmart and Sears stores.

That’s all well and good, but for neighborhood advocates Kmart’s closing leaves a big hole to fill and erases another retail choice. Southeast-side residents have often voiced concern over a lack of stores and services.

“It’s always painful to see a company like Kmart, Target or any other large retailer move out,” said businessman Ted Williams Jr., a member of the Southtown Area Business Advisory Committee. He owns two McDonald’s restaurants, including one at South Anthony Boulevard and Lafayette Street.

“Business is business and life goes on.”

This month, Sears Holdings said it borrowed $1 billion under a new senior secured loan to help it pay debts. The retailer said in September it planned to get the loan to help lower borrowings under its revolving credit facility. The new loan comes due in June 2018.

Sears Holding, based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., runs nearly 2,500 Sears and Kmart retail stores in North America. In the May-July quarter, the retailer’s loss widened as it struggled with weak sales and the effect of deep discounts. The company has been working for some time to cut costs and lower its debt.

The retailer has closed 110 stores since last year.

“The closures are part of a series of actions we’re taking to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” Riefs said. “These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail – at the store, online and in the home.”

pwyche@jg.net

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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