Three area Sears stores set to close in January

Three Indianapolis-area stores that carry the Sears name are going out of business in mid-January.

Sears Home Appliance Showroom at 8320 N. Michigan Road, Sears Appliance & Hardware at 5425 E. Thompson Road and Sears Appliance & Hardware in Fishers are all slated for closure, store officials confirmed Tuesday.

Another local Sears Appliance & Hardware store, in Avon, closed in late October.

The stores are operated by Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc., or SHO, a public company that was spun off by Sears Holdings Corp. in 2012.

The appliance, lawn-and-garden, hardware, and outlet chain operates more than 1,100 company-owned or franchised stores in the United States, but has been rapidly closing underperforming locations in recent years.

The company said Dec. 1 that it closed 51 stores in the first three quarters this year and plans to close 100 more in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ends in late January. That follows the closing of 137 stores in 2015.

Most of the closures have involved Sears Appliance & Hardware stores or Sears Home Appliance Showrooms. Last year, SHO said those store brands were “unprofitable formats, impacted by a group of stores with unacceptable performance that is unlikely to be remediated.”

Company officials said the appliance and hardware stores cost too much to operate because the inventory investments are significant while sales have been falling due to heavy competition from traditional and online retailers.

A half-dozen or so Sears Hardware stores opened in the area in the late 1990s as a way for the retail giant to reach consumers who were making quick runs to smaller neighborhood hardware stores instead of visiting department or big-box stores. Many of those stores were converted into Sears Appliance & Hardware stores a decade ago.

SHO is putting more emphasis on its Sears Hometown and Sears Outlet stores, which have been losing less money. It also is putting a bigger emphasis on selling appliances online.

The company lost $93.2 million in the third quarter, up from a loss of $5.5 million in the same quarter of 2015.

SHO operates separately from Sears Holdings, which owns Sears department stores and Kmart, but it relies on Sears for most of systems and products. Sears Holdings operates local department stores in Castleton and Greenwood.

SHO officials did not respond to questions about the local closures. A Sears Holdings spokesman said no other Sears closures were scheduled in central Indiana.

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