New York — Struggling department store chain Sears says it’s closing even more stores as it tries to turn around its business.

Two of those Kmart locations are in Michigan: One is in Monroe at 1290 N. Monroe. The other is in Escanaba at 801 N. Lincoln; Meijer opened its first Upper Peninsula store in Escanaba in May.

Sears Holdings Corp. CEO Eddie Lampert said in a blog post Friday that the company would close another eight Sears and 35 Kmart stores that are unprofitable by early October. Hundreds of store closings have already been announced this year.

“We have fought hard for many years to return unprofitable stores to a competitive position and to preserve jobs,” Lampert wrote. “As a result, we had to absorb corresponding losses in the process. So, it is obvious that we don’t make decisions to close stores lightly.”

In late June, the company announced a string of 18 Sears closings and two Kmarts, which included the Macomb Mall Sears location. Liquidation sales there began June 30, and the store is slated to close by mid-September.

Sears had said in March that there was “substantial doubt” it could continue after years of bleeding money, though it has insisted that its actions to turn around its business should help reduce that risk. With more people shopping online, mall foot traffic has dropped.

Lampert noted Friday that Sears has opened smaller stores to attract customers and is on track to cut $1.25 billion in yearly costs.

There were 624 Kmart stores and 651 Sears stores as of the end of April.

Sears, once the largest retailer in the U.S., has struggled with aging stores and a product mix that has failed to attract shoppers.

The company declined to say how many jobs would be lost from the latest closures. Eligible employees will receive severance and can apply for open positions at area stores.

Share of Sears closed down 1.9 percent to $7.78 on Friday. Its stock price has fallen 16.3 percent since the beginning of the year.

Detroit News Staff Writer Ian Thibodeau contributed.


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