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Seven Michigan Kmart stores will begin liquidation sales Thursday ahead of planned mid-December closures.

Stores in Jackson, Fenton, Alpena, Grand Rapids, Bryon Center, Manistee and Sault Sainte Marie are scheduled to close. The stores will remain open until mid-December.

Howard Riefs, spokesman for Sears Holding Corp., said the closures in western and northern Michigan come after Sears, which merged with Kmart over a decade ago, “strategically and aggressively (evaluated) our store space and productivity...” Stores marked for closure were unprofitable, he said.

Riefs said the “difficult, but necessary decision” might be met with disappointment from customers, but Sears hopes to retain customers through the Kmart Shop Your Way membership platform and mobile apps.

Sears has not made available the number of employees expected to be affected by the 64 closures nationwide announced this week. Riefs said eligible employees will receive severance and have a chance to apply for open positions at nearby Sears or Kmart stores.

The closures come after Sears closed 68 Kmarts and 10 Sears nationwide earlier this year. Kmart had 941 locations at the start of the year.

Sears lost $395 million in the second quarter of 2016.

Company stock at 12:51 p.m. Wednesday was valued at $11.43. On Sept. 23, 2015, the stock price was $25.14.

ithibodeau@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2359

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau

Store closures

Michigan Kmarts scheduled to close this year:

3001 E. Michigan Ave., Jackson

18055 Silver Parkway, Fenton

2355 U.S. 23 S., Alpena

4111 N. Kent Mall, Grand Rapids

701 68th St., Byron Center

1600 U.S. 31 S., Manistee

2760 I-75, Sault Sainte Marie

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