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June 18, 2018

Sears planning to close another of its stores in Maine

Sears Holdings announced it's planning to close the Sears Hometown Store in Ellsworth as it continues to downsize in response to plummeting sales nationally.

The Ellsworth American reported the store will close July 23 after two decades in operation.

"This was a shock to us," Manager Karen Higgins told the newspaper.

Earlier this year, Sears Holdings, parent company of Sears and Kmart stores, closed the Sears anchor store at the Bangor Mall.

The Sears website lists seven remaining stores in Maine, plus three auto centers.

According to a May 31 Sears Holdings news release, the reported a first-quarter 2018 net loss of $424 million. That compared to net income of $245 million for the first quarter of 2017, which included a gain of $492 million recognized in conjunction with the sale of the Craftsman brand. The company generated total revenues of approximately $2.9 billion during the first quarter of 2018, compared with revenues of $4.2 billion in the prior year's quarter, with store closures contributing to nearly two thirds of the decline. Total comparable store sales declined 11.9% during the quarter, comprised of a 9.5% decline at Kmart and a 13.4% decline at Sears.

"In a challenging quarter, we continued to focus on our strategic transformation, identifying additional opportunities to streamline operations and adjust inventory and operating expenses while staying focused on our best members, best categories and best stores," said Edward S. Lampert, chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings, in a news release. "Our 'Shop Your Way' membership program and 'integrated retail strategy' are our key priorities, and we continue to look for new ways to leverage our Shop Your Way ecosystem to drive improvements in value for our members and to increase the frequency and amount of their engagement."

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