Kmart and Sears close stores in Jefferson City

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JEFFERSON CITY - Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears and Kmart stores, announced Wednesday it will be closing 104 stores nationwide. The announcement came shortly after the company announced 46 store closings on Dec. 27, 2016.

Among the seven Missouri stores set to close in March is the Jefferson City Kmart store on Missouri Blvd. and the Sears located in the Capital Mall, according to a company statement.

As part of a nationwide consolidation, the retail giant is set to close stores struggling financially.

In a news release Thursday, a representative for the company said, "The decision to close stores is a difficult but necessary step as we take actions to strengthen the Company's operations and fund its transportation. Many of these stores have struggled with their financial performance for years and we have kept them open to maintain local jobs and in the hopes that they would turn around. But in order to meet our objective of returning to profitability, we have to make tough decisions and will continue to do so, which will give our better performing stores a chance of success."

The news has hit some residents hard.

Joy Foster, a Jefferson City resident, said the stores' closings came as a major disappointment.

"Well I'm very unhappy that they are closing stores," Foster said. "It seems like we don't have as many choices for what we want to purchase. I don't shop here everyday but whenever there's, either certain things I want that you only find in Kmart or Sears for that matter. And I'm really going to miss them. I spend a lot of money at Sears."

Cindy McDaniel, also a Jefferson City resident, said she agrees but is more worried about what this means to Jefferson City's economic future.

"We're losing so many options in Jefferson City to shop," McDaniel said. "When they make us have to go out of town to do our shopping it's really inconvenient. People aren't going to want to move here. If we don't have these options. So what are we doing to replace it? Are you going to find something better that's cost-effective...? Because online shopping isn't great for everybody."

The economic impact starts with employees. According to a statement from the company representative, Howard Riefs, the number of associates is not publicly available, but eligible associates will get severance and will also be able to apply for other area Kmart or Sears stores.

The closures are set to begin in March 2017, and liquidation sales will begin as early as Jan. 6 at all closing stores.

Here is the complete list of store closings.