MARSHALL, Mich. (CBS Detroit/AP) — The last Kmart in Michigan has closed in the state where the former brick-and-mortar retailer got its start.
Sunday was the last day at the store in Marshall, City Manager Tom Tarkiewicz said Monday. Marshall is 100 miles west of Detroit.
“They still had products they were selling,” Tarkiewicz told the Associated Press.
The first Kmart store opened in Garden City in 1962. The chain grew to more than 2,000 stores across the U.S., but its fortunes changed as other big box retailers gained momentum.
Kmart reorganized under bankruptcy protection in 2002-03 and began closing hundreds of stores before merging with Sears, Roebuck & Co. in 2004.
There were 2,100 locations at the time of its 2002 bankruptcy filing, and 1,400 when it was purchased by Sears. The combined company, Sears Holdings, itself filed for bankruptcy in 2018, and although it survived that process, it has since been closing stores under both brands in what retail experts describe as a “slow-motion liquidation.”
Kmart’s website lists 21 stores remaining in the U.S. or U.S. territories. It also sells goods online.
Tarkiewicz didn’t know why the Marshall store was the last in Michigan to stay open but said he had heard it was considered to be a profitable location.
“It was busy,” he told AP. “We saw a lot of out-of-state cars. We’re only 36 miles from Indiana.”
Tarkiewicz is optimistic that the real estate will get a new life.
“The owner of the building is from California. He’s working on a sale agreement for someone to buy it,” he said.
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