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Kmart to close several stores, including 3 in California

Kmart will close three stores in California in March and April, a company spokesman said Wednesday amid reports of a number of other Kmart closures across the nation.

The Kmart on Katella Avenue West in Anaheim will close in mid-March and will begin its liquidation sale Thursday, and stores in Chula Vista and Citrus Heights will close in April, Sears Holdings Corp. spokesman Howard Riefs said. A Sears store in San Mateo will also close in April. A total of 407 employees will be affected.

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FOR THE RECORD

Jan. 15, 7:56 a.m.: A previous version of this story said four Kmart stores in California would be closing in March and April. Three Kmart stores and one Sears store are closing.

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“Store closures are part of a series of actions we’re taking to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” Riefs said in an email.

He added that eligible employees will receive severance and will be able to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores.

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News outlets across the country have reported that a number of Kmart stores will be shut in the spring, including in Hawaii, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

Riefs did not say how many store closures the company plans nationwide. 

Sears Holdings, which owns Kmart, has been struggling for years. The company posted net losses in 17 of the last 20 quarters, and its annual sales have been falling since 2008.

Kmart is not posting impressive numbers either. The chain reported a 7.5% drop in comparable-store sales in its most recent quarter, which ended Oct. 31. It attributed the decline to slides in apparel and consumer electronics.

Over time, the variety of merchandise that Kmart offers narrowed and other chains were able to capitalize, said Paula Rosenblum, analyst at Retail Systems Research.

“Consumers have other choices,” she said. “What is the incentive when you can go to dollar stores, you can go to Wal-Mart, you can go to Target? There are so many places you can go to buy the things you can find at Kmart.”

The Kmart closures are just the latest thing reflecting trouble for retailers. Last week, Macy’s said it was slashing 4,800 jobs and closing 40 of its department stores, including one at the Irvine Spectrum.

Macy’s attributed its disappointing holiday-season sales to warmer-than-expected temperatures that led customers to shun cold-weather gear. And analysts said that in general, consumers have been reluctant to spend heavily.

For more business news, follow @smasunaga.

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UPDATES

Jan. 14, 7:58 a.m.: This article was updated to include comment from an analyst.

Jan. 13, 11:23 a.m.: This article was updated to add that a Kmart store in Anaheim is also closing and to add background information. 

This article was originally published Jan. 13 at 10:02 a.m.

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