Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Kmart store closing at Palmer Park and Powers boulevards in Colorado Springs

By Rich Laden Updated: February 6, 2014 at 6:23 am 0

Kmart's 32-year-old store at Powers and Palmer Park boulevards will close in mid-May, part of another round of closings nationwide by troubled owner Sears Holdings Corp.

A liquidation sale will begin Feb. 23 at the store, which is part of the Powers Centre shopping center in the unincorporated Cimarron Hills area of El Paso County.

The store employs 57 mostly part-time, hourly workers, Howard Riefs, corporate communications director for suburban Chicago-based Sears Holdings, said via email. Eligible employees will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for positions at area Sears and Kmart stores, he said.

Meanwhile, the Sears Hometown Store that operates on the north side of the Kmart also will close, although another location for it is being sought in the area, Keri Durkin of Sears Hometown Stores said in an email.

Sears Hometown - which sells appliances, electronics and lawn and garden items - is owned by a company spun off from Sears Holdings two years ago. It's unknown how many employees work at the store.

Kmart's closing further reduces the discount chain's presence in the Pikes Peak region. At one time, Kmart also had stores at the Chapel Hills Mall on the city's north side, the Citadel Crossing Shopping Center on the Springs' east side and in Fountain, south of town. Those stores all have closed over the years.

One Kmart now remains - at the Fillmore Marketplace at Nevada Avenue and Fillmore Street in central Colorado Springs. That store will stay open and won't be affected by the closing of the Powers and Palmer Park store, Riefs said.

It's unknown what will happen to Kmart will become the second major retailer to close this year in the Springs area; J.C. Penney said last month it will shutter its Chapel Hills Mall store in early May.

Several Kmart closings have been announced in recent weeks in Ohio, Wisconsin, New York and Tennessee, among other areas. The closings follow Sears Holdings' report last month that same-store Kmart sales had fallen nearly 6 percent in the weeks leading up to and following the 2013 holiday shopping season, according to news reports.

Sears Holdings was created a decade ago by a billionaire investor who bought Kmart out of bankruptcy and purchased Sears, Roebuck & Co. a year later. Since 2010, as it's struggled against Wal-Mart, Target and other rivals, Sears Holdings has closed about 300 of its 2,000 Kmart and Sears stores, according to news reports.

"This store is being closed because the lease was not renewed," Riefs said of the Kmart at Powers and Palmer Park. "Store closures are part of a series of actions we're taking to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model. 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."

Kmart's closing isn't a surprise, said John Egan, a broker with NAI Highland Commercial Group ; he's part of a group that owns Powers Centre - but not the Kmart property. The store, he said, "was just limping along" and wasn't much of a draw for smaller retailers in the center.

"It's just not one of those concepts that seems to be making the cut," Egan said. "They haven't changed their stores, and I just think there's better stores out there. The dollar is just cut so thin anymore and spread out that the competition's got the upper hand."

Egan said he expects the Kmart site to attract another retailer. With thousands of homes built on the Springs' east and northeast sides over the last 25 years, the Powers corridor has evolved into a top retail destination.

"There are boxes out there looking right now," Egan said. "Somebody's going to take that space."

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Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228

Twitter @richladen

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