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Sears and Kmart closings in EKY

Sears and Kmart stores across the country are closing affecting people and communities nationwide.

It was announced Thursday that two of those stores are in Eastern Kentucky.

Sears Holdings Corporation expects 100 to 120 store closings sometime in the new year.

Shoppers at the Kmart in Hazard and Sears in the Middlesboro Mall left with discouraging news that the stores are closing.

It was a surprise to many.

"To my understanding, they just found out today, so they really hadn't had a chance to react to anything," said Robert Baranowsky, who used to be a manager at Sears in Middlesboro.

Baranowsky says he was a manager at Sears for nearly two years and knows the store makes money.

"If there is pressure from the big box competitors, such as Lowes, Home Depot, and Best Buy and you have none of that competition here in this area, then it makes no business sense whatsoever to close a profitable store," said Baranowsky.

But the chief executive officer of the Sears Holdings Corporation says, "Given our performance and the difficult economic environment, especially for big-ticket items, we intend to implement a series of actions to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model."

Store closings affect just about everyone taking jobs from the employed and unemployed and stores from customers to shop at.

Baranowsky says the Sears' closing will leave 30 to 40 people jobless in Middlesboro and even more will be unemployed when the Hazard Kmart closes.

"It's gonna be like losing a loved one because we don't have work anyway, and if they shut this down, then what are the employees gonna do?" said Clemmie Joseph, who shops at Kmart in Hazard.

Many say they feel betrayed and think closing these two stores in Eastern Kentucky is a huge mistake.

The Sears Holdings Corporation expects to make millions of dollars selling the store buildings when they close.

No closing dates have been released.


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