HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL—The parent company of national retailer Sears announced on Friday plans to shut down all locations through at least April 30.
Locally-based Transformco reported that Sears.com, distribution centers and customer care operations will remain open. Sears Home Services will continue to repair essential appliances. The Sears locations shut down operations on Saturday.
Except where required to close by law or government order, Kmart stores and Kmart Pharmacy locations will remain open to provide essential products and services, the company stated. Transformco is also the parent company of Kmart.
The company has also temporarily furloughed most Sears store hourly, salaried associates and the majority of its associates in Hoffman Estates and other corporate locations around the country.
The company will cover 100% of the premium costs through April 30 for all furloughed associates currently enrolled in Transformco’s benefits programs during this period. Many impacted associates are also eligible to receive state unemployment benefits, which were recently increased with the passage of the federal stimulus bill.
“Our top priority is the health and safety of our associates, members and the communities we serve,” the company said in a statement. “We remain committed to helping slow the spread of the virus, while also meeting the needs of our members. However, COVID-19 is having a serious impact on the entire retail industry, including our company.”
The company added, “Therefore, to ensure the future viability of the company, we have made the decision to temporarily close all Sears stores. We believe that taking these temporary steps now will position Sears to continue to serve our members and customers when the COVID-19 crisis passes.”
Transformco acquired Sears and Kmart in a bankruptcy auction in early 2019 and the company shuttered 96 locations last year, according to a report in USA Today.