Provo Towne Center Sears closing next year

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In the year 1886, Sears was formed by Richard W. Sears as a watch company. After 126 years of growth, the store is being forced to sell 11 stores across the nation to decrease costs and boost assets, including the Provo Towne Center and Murray locations.

Corporate Sears revealed its inventory is $544 million below the previous year’s balance. The sale of 11 stores is expected to raise $270 million for the company by next year. All of the Sears stores purchased are located in properties belonging to General Growth Properties, which owns and operates malls.

Sears’ current plan is to reduce costs and inventory to reduce debt. The total debt is $3.5 billion as of January 28, 2012.

In the fourth quarter, Sears Domestic’s store sales declined 4.1 percent. Sears expects to raise $500 million by separating the hometown, outlet and hardware stores.

“I can’t disclose the store to come,” said Scott Hansen, senior general manager of Provo Towne Center. “But I can reiterate that we are doing this acquisition to enhance expansion and future opportunities. It’s a bit exciting but also a little sad — both ways.”

“It’s being sold, not closed,” said Kim Freely, PR representative for Corporate Sears. “It made good business sense for us.”

“We are an asset-rich enterprise with substantial liquidity,” said Rob Schriesheim, Sears holdings’ chief financial officer, in a press release on Feb. 23.

Although Sears may not be around many years to come, Provo continues to have a stronger economy than the nation. Unemployment in Provo is currently 6.2¬† percent¬† while the U.S. as a whole is 9.8 percent, according to Provo City’s website.

The Sears Auto Center and Outlet Store will remain in business.

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