Sunday is final day for River Oaks Sears

2013-06-07T23:30:00Z 2013-06-08T14:04:05Z Sunday is final day for River Oaks SearsGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent
June 07, 2013 11:30 pm  • 

CALUMET CITY | The Sears Roebuck & Co. store that has been in operation at River Oaks Shopping Center for nearly 50 years will close for good after Sunday.

Officials with the store at 2 River Oaks Center and with the Simon Property Group that operates the River Oaks mall said Friday that Sunday is the final day the store will be open.

An assistant manager said the store would be open during its regular hours from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Liquidation sales will be ongoing until the store’s closure, which was announced by Sears officials in February, although an exact date for the store’s closing was never announced.

Officials said 164 people employed by the store will lose their jobs. Company officials said those workers will have a chance to apply for jobs at other local Sears stores, including department stores in Hobart and Michigan City that have not been affected by decisions to close hundreds of Sears stores across the United States.

Calumet City Economic Development Director James Gigliotti has said he thinks Sears could have survived at the River Oaks mall if it had moved into a smaller storefront to accommodate its current needs. Gigliotti was not available Friday to comment on what efforts the city has made in recent months to attract a new business to the space now occupied by Sears.

The Hoffman Estates-based company still operates 1,253 stores in 50 states, Puerto Rico and Bermuda. But declining sales have caused the iconic retailer — which has operated at River Oaks mall since it first opened for business in 1966 — to close many stores.

In a report released Friday, Sears said its operating income declined by 28 percent to $24.7 million for the quarter that ended May 4, compared with $34.5 million the prior year.

Net sales for the first quarter of this year dropped 3.2 percent to $601.1 million, compared with the first quarter of last year. A 5 percent decline in comparable store sales was attributed to lower sales of lawn and garden products due to colder weather conditions experienced across much of the United States earlier this year.

Sears CEO and President Bruce Johnson said much of the decline was during the first two months of the quarter.

“We were pleased with the improvement during the latter portion of the quarter,” he said in a prepared statement.

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