Kmart in Poughkeepsie will close in December, according to a a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN notice submitted on Tuesday.
Just in time for the holidays, 71 workers will be losing their jobs with the closure of the last Kmart in the mid-Hudson Valley.
Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications at Sears Holdings, said the store will close in mid-December and the liquidation sale began today.
“We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity, and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable stores as previously announced,” he said.
Layoffs at the big box store are set to begin on Dec. 23 and would be completed then or within 14 days, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN notice. All 71 employees at the site will be laid off, according to the notice.
Under the WARN act, employers must give 60 days notice to workers in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs. The notice indicated the reason for the closure was “economic.”
Kmart will offer severance to employees at the site, Riefs said.
“Those associates that are eligible will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores,” he said.
The next closest Kmart is located about 30 miles south in Mahopac, according to Kmart’s store locator. Sears operates a store in the Poughkeepsie Galleria.
Dutchess County Assistant County Executive Ron Hicks said the county’s Rapid Response Team is available to help impacted employees.
“At this time, employees should wait for direction from company officials and the Department of Labor with regard to assistance, but they are certainly welcome to independently visit the Dutchess One Stop at 191 Man St. in Poughkeepsie to get one-on-one assistance,” he said.
For Deborah Rendon of Poughkeepsie, Kmart’s closure would make shopping in between big trips more of a hassle.
Kmart is one of the only places “I go to for clothes and little things that I need here and there without having to go all the way to the Galleria,” she said.
Sears Holdings announced it would be closing 46 more Sears or Kmart stores in August, but the Poughkeepsie store was not listed among those closings. These store closures were set to take place in November.
Sears has suffered from declining mall traffic, a failure to generate enough online sales, pension costs and a lack of investment in its stores, according to USA Today.
The company had 365 Kmart stores and 506 Sears full-line stores as of May 5, though some were in the midst of closing. Over the previous year, the company closed 379 full-line stores.
A Kmart location off Route 9 within the Shoppes at South Hills complex closed in 2016. It was among 68 Kmart and 10 Sears stores closed by Sears Holdings.
Hicks attributed this to online sales and a lack of focus from the company.
“Kmart’s demise is in part due to the rapid growth of online shopping and companies like Amazon, but more importantly, I would suggest Kmart lost its focus a long time ago,” he said. “Businesses, particularly those that deal directly with consumers like Kmart must continuously assess the customer and the market and ensure that they not only give them what they need, but prove their value.”
In a statement, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro described the closure as sad and recommended employees visit Dutchess’ One Stop Center.
“Even though the retail industry is ever-evolving, it is always sad to learn of a longtime retailer closing, particularly when there are employee layoffs,” he said.
Hicks characterized the closure as an outlier to employment trends in the county.
“On a positive note, last month we saw the lowest unemployment rate in the County since 2005, and businesses are hiring, so we don’t expect any of the affected workers to have difficulty finding new employment.”
Geoffrey Wilson: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4882, Twitter: Geoff_LW
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