Sears in Maplewood Mall is the latest Twin Cities department store to fall victim on the retail chopping block.
Sears will close nearly 25 more stores across the country in 17 states, the company said Monday. Stores in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Arizona, Ohio, California, New York and Florida are affected.
"This is not an effort solely aimed at cost savings but is part of a strategy … as many of our larger stores are too big for our needs," a company spokesman said in a statement. "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."
The closing at Maplewood leaves the Chicago-based company with just four stores in the Twin Cities.
It's the latest in a series of closings, including more than 200 Bon-Ton Inc. department stores that are expected to close by the end of June. Bon-Ton's holdings include the Herberger's chain, which is prominent in Minnesota.
Maplewood anticipated some retail closings and is considering its options, City Manager Melinda Coleman said after hearing the news about the Sears store there. "The city of Maplewood has been proactive about re-imagining the area around the mall to accommodate future shopping, entertainment and community needs," she said in a statement.
After looking at how Roseville and Edina have revitalized their older malls, Maplewood Mayor Nora Slawik said the community is looking into "more diversified entertainment centers" that may include health care facilities or residential development.
Last year, Sears closed more than 150 Sears and Kmarts nationwide, including stores in Burnsville, Coon Rapids, Eden Prairie Center, Detroit Lakes, St. Cloud and Mankato.
Homart Development Co., a former subsidiary of Sears, built Maplewood Mall in 1974 with Sears as an anchor. Eden Prairie Center in 1976 and Burnsville Center in 1977 were also developed by Homart with Sears stores as anchors. Homart was acquired by Iowa-based General Growth in 1995.
In the Twin Cities, Sears stores remain open in Brooklyn Center, Bloomington's Mall of America, Minnetonka Ridgedale and St. Paul.
Sears said liquidation sales are expected to start Friday at the latest round of closing stores and will continue into July. Employees losing their jobs will be offered full severance or the chance to apply for positions at other locations.
Sears peaked with more than 3,500 stores but now has fewer than 700.