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Sears, K-Mart To Close Stores; Are SoFla Stores Targeted?

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(SOURCE: Mario Tama/Getty Images) A Sears store sign in Brooklyn

(SOURCE: Mario Tama/Getty Images) A Sears store sign in Brooklyn

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida shoppers are wondering if their neighborhood Sears or K-Mart store will make the hit-list of as many as 120 stores operated by Sears Holdings which may be closed due to poor sales during the 2011 Christmas shopping season.

The Chicago-based company revealed it’s plan Tuesday, but did not name the stores that will be closing.

In South Florida, Sears has 14 stores from Key West to West Palm Beach, most in major malls, while K-Mart has about 20 stores in the area, most of them in strip shopping centers.

“For value and the times being hard, you could always count on places like Sears,” said Monica Allen who regularly shops the Sears store in Ft. Lauderdale.

“I don’t shop here a lot for clothing or appliances, but I do shop for the tools,” said Robert Black.

The two companies merged 7 years ago, and have since shared product lines like Sears’ iconic Craftsman tools. The stores have been managed by Sears Holdings.

Sears Holdings said sales at stores open at least a year, a closely watched retail measure known as same-store sales, fell 5.2% in the eight weeks that ended Christmas Day. Sales at Kmart stores dropped 4.5%, while sliding 6% at domestic Sears stores.

“Given our performance and the difficult economic environment, especially for big-ticket items, we intend to implement a series of actions to reduce on-going expenses,” said Lou D’Ambrosio, CEO of the company.

The poor results for Sears and K-Mart were in contrast to the rest of the retail industry. The National Retail Federation forecast that holiday sales would be up 2.3% this year, a target that was helped by record Black Friday sales following Thanksgiving. Final results are still pending, but other major retailers are reporting better-than-anticipated holiday results.

Analysts say most of the K-Mart closings are likely to be outside the Northeast and the Midwest, while Sears will be looking at stores in shopping malls that are having trouble attracting customers.

“There’s no Wal-Mart around here if you can’t find it at Target, you come to K-Mart,” said Angela Baita who shops the K-Mart store on US 1 in South Dade.

And Joanne Naujeck hopes her preferred K-Mart store on Oakland Park Boulevard is not on the list of closures.

“The price is very good, excellent, half the price of Macy’s and the fit is excellent,” said Naujeck.

Sears Holdings has not yet said when it would announce which stores will close.

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