Sears announces timeline for closing Fayette Mall store

ctruman@herald-leader.comOctober 16, 2013 

The Sears store in Fayette Mall will begin its liquidation sale Oct. 25 and remain open through the holidays, according to a spokesman for Sears Holdings.

The company announced in July that it was closing the Fayette Mall store, which has been a dominant force in the mall since it opened.

Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications for Illinois-based Sears Holdings, said that the store will close in January. The Sears Auto Center, located outside the mall, will close Saturday.

In an e-mail, Riefs said that "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."

The store in Lexington has 118 employees. Riefs said the employees will have a chance to apply for positions at the company's Kmart and other Sears stores.

A search of Sears Holdings job listings yielded available Lexington positions for loss prevention associate, hardlines merchandiser, softlines merchandiser, cashier and office associate.

Fayette Mall is owned by Chattanooga-based CBL, and Sears sold its anchor spot in the mall to CBL in the summer.

Katie Reinsmidt, a senior vice president for investor relations and corporate investments at CBL, said her company plans on an early 2014 construction start for the Sears space.

Lexington's planning commission voted in September to approve a plan for redevelopment of Sears as retail and restaurant space.

"We've had very strong demand from retailers that are interested in joining the project," Reinsmidt said Tuesday. "We think that shoppers are going to be really excited with the new names we will be bringing to the project." Reinsmidt said she could not release names of potential new tenants.

Sears has been a major retailer in Lexington since the early 20th century, when it operated downtown. Along with McAlpin's and Shillito's, it was one of the city's largest department stores in the 1980s.

During the 1960s, the store fought an extended legal and city government battle to move its big store to Harrodsburg Road, but it eventually settled on the Fayette Mall property. When the mall opened in 1971, Sears was one of its founding tenants.

Cheryl Truman: (859)231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman.

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