WXXI AM News

Last Rochester-area Sears store to close

Dec 28, 2018

(WXXI News & AP) Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert's hedge fund said it submitted a last-minute bid Friday valued at $4.4 billion to keep the struggling retailer from being liquidated.

Transform Holdco LLC, an affiliate of the ESL Investments hedge fund that Lampert heads, said it hoped to keep 425 stores open. The bid includes $1.3 billion in financing from three institutions, ESL said in a statement.

The iconic retailer, once the nation's largest department store chain, faced a deadline of Friday for bids for its remaining stores to avert closing down completely.

But whatever happens with the efforts to get Sears out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it’s apparent that Rochester will lose its last local Sears store.

Sears also announced Friday that it will close 80 more Sears and Kmart locations in late March 2019.

And that includes the last remaining Sears store in the Rochester area, the one at Marketplace Mall in Henrietta.

The store in Henrietta opened at the same time Marketplace Mall did, in 1982.  Mall Manager Mike Wilmot says it does not generate a lot of traffic for the rest of the mall, but he says it’s too early to say what will become of that space.

Sears actually owns the building at Marketplace, so the mall’s owner, Wilmorite, would need to negotiate if it wants to buy that property as part of any future plans for the mall.

Wilmorite released this statement on Friday:

"Today, Sears announced additional store closings. This announcement was not unexpected. Wilmorite is still committed to changes at The Marketplace Mall; there are several projects coming in the Spring."