RI’s only Sears deemed ‘unprofitable,’ closing Sept. 17

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Sears, the anchor store that made Midland Mall the success that it was and hung in there after it became Rhode Island Mall and eventually fell victim to Warwick Mall and the big box stores of Route 2, is closing September 17, store associates were told in a meeting Thursday.

Soon thereafter, corporate offices confirmed the store would close in mid-September as “We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable stores as previously announced.”

Word of the closing traveled quickly and, by first thing Friday morning, associates were handling a deluge of calls and a good many customers looking for bargains. There were bargains, but according to a news release, a liquidation sale won’t start until June 30.

According to a statement issued by Sears spokesman Howard Reifs, “We understand that members may be 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. 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.”

A feeling of disbelief and shock hung over both associates and customers Friday.

“I’m really stressed out right now,” said an associate who had no idea where he would be working once the only Rhode Island Sears closes. The nearest Sears is in Attleboro and some associates interviewed were hopeful of finding positions there.

Asked about the prospect for associates, Reifs replied in an email, “The number of associates is not publicly available. Those associates that are eligible will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores.”

Associates spoken with also questioned how the Warwick store could be losing money when compared to other stores they had visited, and ones that are staying open, seem to be less active than Warwick.

Joyce Mazzatto of Exeter was one of several “loyal” Sears customers who were at the store shortly after it opened. Mazzattto had been given Sears gift certificates by her kids and she wanted to make sure to use them before it was too late.

“Their stuff is so good, all guaranteed,” she said.

Mazzatto said she knows the store and just where to go for what she wants. Yet for someone anticipating the closure of one of her favorite stores, she only held a small plastic bag. What had she rushed in to buy?

“This is where I get my underwear, bras and all that,” she said.

Inside the store, Paula Burns of Johnston was looking for parts for a Kenmore appliance. She was told the store might have it, but more likely she would need to go online. That didn’t dampen her enthusiasm for Sears.

“I love Sears; ask anyone and they know how to get you an answer,” she said. “There’s always someone there to help you.”

Reifs answered suggestions that the property owner had something to do with the decision to close. Sears owned the store until 2015 when it was sold. Sears, in turn, leased back the space. According to city land records the property is owned by Seritage SRC Finance LLC from Hoffman, Illinois.

Reifs said the sale of the Warwick property was one of 235 Sears and Kmart locations sold to Seritage in 2015. He said Sears Holdings has the option to exit its lease with Seritage if the store is unprofitable.

“We informed Seritage that we will soon be exiting 18 Sears stores and two Kmart stores,” he said.

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RISchadenfreude

When residents are either rich or poor, like RI, companies like Sears cannot keep their doors open; the wealthy shop at Providence Place and everyone else shops at Job Lot or WalMart- this is another symptom of the continued departure of RI's middle class taxpayers.

Friday, June 30
richardcorrente

Dear RISchadenfreude,

Here is another major business lost due to the excessive taxes Warwick charges on commercial properties. Midland Mall pays millions in real estate taxes. Sears pays a rent, as a result, that is unsustainable. Just like Shannon Motors. Just like Roger Williams Motors. Just like the 900 employees at Citizens Bank operation center that "was" on Jefferson Blvd. Just like Staples in the Airport Plaza. Just like Radio Shack. And so many others (a recent comparison of Warwick businesses to the RI Secretary of States records as well as the Warwick City Hall records shows 4,666 businesses have closed down in Warwick in the last ten years and 5,800 taxpayers have left our city causing higher taxes on the rest of us.)

RISchadenfreude,

We have to reverse this trend or Warwick will become a ghost-town. Part of The Corrente Plan is to offer tax rebate checks to anyone moving into Warwick and purchasing a home OR opening a new business. We have to ATTRACT new taxpayers. At the moment we are REPELLING them. If you or anyone reading this has an idea that will increase the number of taxpayers, here is your opportunity to tell us all. OR, if you prefer, you can call me at 401-338-9900. Thousands of "RI's middle class taxpayers" used to live in Warwick. I am committed to bringing them back.

Thank you RISchadenfreude, for your wise observation.

Happy Summer RISchadenfreude.

Happy Summer everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Wednesday, July 5
CrickeeRaven

Despite multiple reminders, the disgraced former candidate and losing failure fake "mayor" persists in his false claim of thousands of lost businesses, based on a fraudulent comparison of separate sources.

Readers who want the truth about the fake "mayor" and his fraudulent claim should read the following:

http://warwickpost.com/numbers-game-corrente-claims-of-lost-businesses-dont-add-up/

He clearly feels no shame in continuing to lie to those he claims to serve, and will certainly continue his shameless behavior in future comments.

Wednesday, July 5