Sears closing its last store in Chicago
The last Sears department store in Chicago is slated to close this summer.
Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings on Thursday told employees the Six Corners store at 4730 W. Irving Park Road will close in July, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, ending the company's presence in the city where it started its mail-order business in 1886 and made its headquarters for decades in the world's tallest building.
Sears stores remain open in the suburbs, including at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Stratford Square Mall in Bloomingdale, Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills and Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee.
Earlier this year, Sears Holdings announced the closing of more than 100 stores this spring, with that tally including 64 Kmart stores and 39 Sears stores. That move came in addition to the closing of about 250 stores announced last year.
The company has been selling off some its real estate and brands as it tries to raise cash.
Sears started as a mail-order watch company whose founder, Richard Sears, partnered with watchmaker Alvah C. Roebuck and built a retail giant that had brands such as Kenmore and Craftsman, once owned Allstate Insurance and even sold thousands of kit homes that still stand all over the Chicago area.
But sales weakened and amid other factors, Sears, once America's biggest retailer, began what some industry observers described as one of the most monumental collapses in business history.
In Chicago, the Six Corners store at was among 265 properties sold to Seritage Growth Properties in 2015 in a sale-leaseback deal, the Sun-Times reported. Sears said Thursday that Seritage is exercising its right to reclaim the space.
"We have proudly served our members and customers on Chicago's Northwest Side for the last eight decades," Sears said in a statement quoted by the Sun-Times. "Although we are disappointed by this last store closure in Chicago, by no means does this change our commitment to our customers and presence to Chicago's residents."
The Sears store has anchored the shopping district since 1938.
"It has been an iconic part of Six Corners," Alderman John Arena told the Sun-Times. "But there has been a long holding of breath as the company struggled. At least there is now certainty about this site."
His office has yet to receive a proposal for the property's future from Seritage.
"Sears has been a mainstay of the Six Corners community for decades and will certainly be missed," Six Corners Association executive director Kelli Wefenstette said.