PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Sears Holdings has announced plans to close more than 100 more Kmart and Sears stores around the country, including three locations in Western Pennsylvania.
The Ross Park Sears store is slated to close in early April of 2018, with its Auto Center closing at the end of January 2018. Sears Holdings said eligible employees will be given severance and a chance to apply for open jobs at other locations.
If there is any bright side to the closure, the Ross Township Board of Commissioners has been restructuring the local zoning laws since last year to attract more business and create more jobs.
“It’s just a shame for the people who lost their jobs,” said Gideon, from East Liberty.
“It’s a shame because all those people are losing their jobs — I feel sorry for them all,” said Tony Cammel from Weirton.
Ross Township Commission President Stephen Korbel shares the same sentiments.
“Any time you lose a large anchor store that’s been in the community for such a long time, you think about the folks that are going to lose their job, it’s a sad day,” said Korbel.
However, he’s confident the Sears closure won’t set the local economy back.
“But I think in the long run this presents a very good opportunity for both the Ross Park Mall and Ross Township to have a redevelopment of that end of the mall,” said Korbel.
High-end shops like Louis Vuitton, Tiffanys, and others situated at that wing of the mall, have helped turn Ross Park into a major shopping attraction.
“The Ross Park Mall is flourishing. It’s a regional destination. They have bus trips coming in from NY state, from OH. It’s really a place where people want to go,” said Korbel.
Last year, commissioners adopted a mixed use zoning ordinance with the hopes of allowing more business to set up shop in the commercial district.
“We’re encouraging housing units, we’re encouraging office space, encouraging more restaurants, etc,” said Korbel.
No word on what may occupy the old Sears space, but the new law allows more options.
“My hope is that with that zoning change, the mall will be equipped with what it needs in order to redevelop that area and make the mall even more successful and contribute to our community,” said Korbel.
A Simon Malls spokesperson released this statement: “This is great news for Ross Park Mall. When we acquired the store from the Seritage joint venture late last year, we knew Sears would close. Our redevelopment plans are done and will commence in 2018. We are very excited for this opportunity.”
According to Sears Holdings, the liquidation sales in the closing stores could begin as early as Jan. 12, 2018. The company also said the Kmart on Washington Pike in Bridgeville and the Kmart on East State Street in Hermitage are also closing in early April, like the Ross Park Sears.
In all, 64 Kmart stores and 39 Sears stores will close around the United States.
To see the complete list of closures, click here.