Kmart to close Bennington Square store

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BENNINGTON — The Bennington Kmart store, which avoided closure earlier this year when 64 stores in the chain were shuttered, will begin a final sale next week.

"We are making the difficult, but necessary decision to close the Kmart store at 19 Kocher Drive in Bennington," company spokesman Larry Costello said Thursday. "The store will close to the public in early August 2018."

The public relations director for Sears Holdings Corp., Kmart's parent corporation, said a liquidation sale will begin on May 17.

"We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity, and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable stores as previously announced," Costello said in an email response. "This is not an effort solely aimed at cost savings but is part of a strategy we have been executing against as many of our larger stores are too big for our needs."

Local media have been informed that Kmart intends to purchase advertisements about the close-out sale, running from May 17 through Aug. 5.

"Having fewer stores — and the right format — will help us bring Sears Holdings to a size and place to meet the realities of the changing retail world," Costello said. "Our members and customers can also shop at our other Kmart locations, which are listed at www.kmart.com/stores.html."

In this region, a store in Rutland was on the list in January of 64 stores — along with 39 Sears stores — that would close as part of a companywide consolidation. The last Kmart in Berkshire County, Mass., closed in December 2016, and the lone store in nearby New York is located on Route 29 in Greenwich, N.Y., and remains open.

The company hasn't indicated whether other closures will be announced along with that of the Bennington store.

"The number of associates is not publicly available," Costello said, referring to employees of the local store. "Those associates that are eligible will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores."

Following closure of a Radio Shack store in 2017, a real estate ad offering space for lease in the Bennington Square Shopping Center listed tenants as the Kmart store, with 55,552 square feet of floor space; JCPenney, with 38,720 square feet, and Staples, with 23,526 square feet, as among the largest businesses located there.

The Bennington Kmart opened on March 8, 1979.

The town's largest retailer is Walmart, which opened a 112,000-square-foot Supercenter in August 2016 in the Monument Shopping Plaza off Northside Drive, replacing a 52,000-square-foot Walmart at the same site.

Jim Therrien writes for New England Newspapers in Southern Vermont and VTDigger.org. Email: jtherrien@benningtonbanner.com. @BB_therrien on Twitter.




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