NEW INFORMATION: Two area Kmart stores to close

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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- Two major retail stores in our area are closing their doors this spring.
Kmart stores in Chippewa Falls and Menomonie announced this week that they will leave the area mid-May.

Chippewa Falls Mayor Greg Hoffman says Agree Realty Corporation out of Michigan owns the building on Prairie View Road that Kmart is currently occupying.

Hoffman says the store that's been in the area for nearly two decades is closing because the lease for the building hasn't been renewed.

“It's a sad day, it really is,” said Hoffman.

Hoffman said Mega Foods leaving the strip mall's area in 2012 and now Kmart creates some holes in the South side development.

“The shopping center is getting pretty bare now, there is not much left,” said Chippewa Falls Resident and frequest Kmart shopper Larry Lundgren.

“It's just an asset for this side of town,” said Roxi Janecke.
Janecke who grew up in the area says her mother lives at the Homestead Village a senior living facility located right next to Kmart.
She says people living in the area rely on the store for necessities.

“A lot of the people there come to Kmart and used to coming to Mega Foods too, they're going to miss both of them a lot,” she added.

Hoffman says Chippewa Falls is growing with many new housing units being constructed. But he says the retail component is not doing that well.

Sears Corporation that owns Kmart says they're closing the stores to reduce on-going expenses:

"These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail - at the store, online and in the home,” said Chris Brathwaite Sears Holdings Spokesman.

Hoffman says the city doesn't have much control over what will Kmart or when, but says the city would like to see another store come in.

“Would it be nice to see another retail store, yes; could it be divided up into a number of smaller stores, possibly,” said Hoffman.

“I think there are a number of different options.”

A Sears spokesperson says the Chippewa Falls store has 79 employees. The Menomonie store has 66 employees.

"Those associates that are eligible will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area sears or Kmart stores. Most of the associates are part time/hourly.”

The stores will begin their liquidation sales on February 23.
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Two area communities have received word that their Kmart stores will close in the months ahead.

Chippewa Falls Mayor Greg Hoffman says Kmart on Prairie View Road will close in May. He says that's when the lease is up. Hoffman says he believes the store will start up with a liquidation sale in late February. The Menomonie City Clerk's office received notice on Friday that that city's Kmart on Oak Avenue will also close in early May. City Administrator Lowell Prange says he believes that story would also put merchandise on sale in an attempt to liquidate it. He believes Kmart has been in Menomonie for 30 or 40 years. He's not sure what will happen with the building, but he hopes it can be used for another commercial purpose.

WEAU spoke with a manager at the Eau Claire Kmart who says "we are remaining open."

A message to Sears Holdings, which owns Kmart, was not immediately returned Tuesday morning.
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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) --The mayor of Chippewa Falls says a department store in his city is about to close.

Mayor Greg Hoffman says Kmart on Prairie View Road will close in May. He says that's when the lease is up. Hoffman says he believes the store will start up with a liquidation sale in late February.

A message to Sears Holdings, which owns Kmart, was not immediately returned Tuesday morning.


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