Business

Oakdale Kmart store closing; last location for the chain in Stanislaus County

Can retail be rescued? Why so many U.S. stores are closing

Stores that have been staples of the American shopping tradition for decades are closing in large numbers. Take a closer look at the reasons why it’s so hard for retailers to stay open.
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Stores that have been staples of the American shopping tradition for decades are closing in large numbers. Take a closer look at the reasons why it’s so hard for retailers to stay open.

The Kmart in Oakdale, the last location for the once formidable national retailer in Stanislaus County, will close by the end of the year.

Sears Holdings Corp., the parent company that owns both Sears and Kmart, confirmed the closure Tuesday, among more than 100 stores in the chain slated to shutter this year.

“After careful review, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to close the Kmart store in Oakdale, California,” said Larry Costello, Sears and Kmart PR director, in an email about the closure. “The liquidation sale is expected to begin in mid-September and the store is planned to close by mid-December. We encourage customers to continue shopping on Kmart.com for all their product needs.”

The Oakdale store news follows the permanent closure of the Kmart in Ceres and the Sears at Modesto’s Vintage Faire Mall in January of this year.

Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer said the store’s closure is a sad day for the city.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” he said. “Kmart is one of our largest retailers and we’re sad to hear it is closing and sad for those employees who have been affected.”

Kmart would not comment on the number of employees working at the Oakdale location, but Whitemyer said he hopes to connect all of them with services through Opportunity Stanislaus to help them find other jobs or training.

The Oakdale store on Maag Avenue opened in 1991 and was heralded for its new “state-of-the-art” design, meant to compete with then-rising retail giant Walmart.

Whitemyer said the store’s closure will have a negative impact on the city’s sales tax revenue, but it should not be “catastrophic.” Instead, the city is hopeful that the 86,000-square-foot space will find a new, possibly national retail tenant.

He said that while disappointing, the Kmart closure is not a surprise. The company, along with Sears, has announced mass store closings for the past several years since filing for bankruptcy.

“I think we’ll have a strong opportunity to attract another retailer,” Whitemyer said. “There is a marketplace in Oakdale — that’s not a question. For other retailers that are performing better, this may be an easy decision for them.”

Kmart once had stores in Modesto, Turlock, Ceres and Oakdale.

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Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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