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As the national downturn for the chain — and retail in general — continues, the Kmart at South Broadway and West Belleview Avenue in Englewood will close in mid-November, its parent company announced Aug. 24.
"I don't know that it's a surprise," said Brad Power, director of community development for the City of Englewood, who noted that Sears Holdings Corp. has announced several closures in recent years.
Englewood's Kmart is part of a round of 28 closures nationwide that includes the location at 15200 E. Colfax Ave. in Aurora. It knocks the total of Kmart stores in Colorado to just four — locations in Pueblo, Loveland, Colorado Springs and Arvada will still remain.
Sears Holdings Corp. has closed about 180 of its stores — including Kmart and Sears locations — in fiscal year 2017, and another 150 stores are expected to be closed by the end of the third quarter of 2017, the company said in a news release. The 28 new Kmart closures come in addition to those closures already announced.
"It points to what's going on with the retail sector in the country," Power said. "Kmart's just one of (the companies affected)."
Power said the city has been watching to see what would happen with the Englewood location during the several closings announced nationally.
In the 26-week period ending July 30, 2016, Kmart made about $4.4 billion in total revenues. In the same period ending July 29 of this year, that number was down to about $3 billion.
There haven't been many cars in the large parking lot, said Darren Hollingsworth, Englewood's economic development manager. The building is 146,256 square feet and covers 11.5 acres, including the parking lot, according to Arapahoe County data.
"It's reflective of the fact that the best retailers now have a really strong niche," Power said. "Big-box stores are really struggling with the new internet economy."
Sears Holdings announced in July an agreement with Amazon to sell its Kenmore brand products on Amazon.com.
City officials said the closing may be an opportunity for positive development in the area.
"This will certainly have an impact upon our sales tax (revenue), but it will also open up opportunities for redevelopment," said Eric Keck, Englewood's city manager.
Power said making the location "more walkable and more bike-friendly" to better connect it to the neighborhood could be an outcome the city pushes for with whomever might develop the property. The city was in the process of reaching out to the current property owner in the afternoon Aug. 24.
Power said the city looks at it as a redevelopment site because it's unlikely another large retailer will buy the property.
"That's not in the cards," Power said, noting the size of the property and the struggling retail landscape in general.
A few real estate brokers had approached the city about acquiring the property in the past few years, Hollingsworth said.
"It's high-profile," Hollingsworth said. It's "in a very visible, accessible location ... right in the heart of a pretty dynamic area."
The closure is unfortunate for employees, Power said.
"Those associates that are eligible will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores," said Howard Riefs, corporate communications director for Sears Holdings.
The store has 32 employees, including managers.
Hollingsworth said the city is reaching out to the Arapahoe/Douglas Works! Workforce Center, a service of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, to connect Kmart employees to job training and new job opportunities.
"Folks are impacted by this, so we want to make sure they are connected to some resources that can be of assistance to them," Hollingsworth said.
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