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Kmart and Sears store closings "inevitable," say analysts

The parent company of Sears and Kmart has released a partial list of the stores it plans to close across the country; six are in Michigan.  

Analysts see the shakeup as inevitable, noting that after Sears and Kmart merged, the condition of the stores deteriorated, as did the shopping experience.  

Chris Christopher is an economist with I-H-S Global Insight.  He says that deterioration happened at the same time American consumers lost a significant amount of their buying power during the recession.  

Now, there are too many retail stores competing for less business.  

"And there’s gonna have to be a loser," says Christopher.  "And the one who can’t provide a good service or good product or market itself is gonna lose, and that’s what we’re sort of seeing."

Christopher says Sears as the inventor of catalog sales was a real innovator at the beginning of the 20th century,.  But it hasn't been particularly successful selling products online, and that's essentially the catalog of the 21st century.

Kmart also failed to capitalize on a potential niche, says Joan Primo, head of The Strategic Edge, in the face of growing competition from Walmart and Target.  She says K-mart potentially could have made inroads in urban environments, especially because Wal-mart and Target avoided those settings.  

But Kmart never expanded into cities.

Sears stores in Brighton, Harper Woods, Monroe and Adrian will close, along with Kmart stores in Washington Township and Chesterfield Township. 

More store closing announcements are expected to follow. 

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.