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(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real Estate Florida.)

ST. PETERSBURG, FL-During 2008, Sears Holdings Corp. announced that they’d be closing 28 Kmart, Super K, Sears Grand and Sears Essentials stores nationwide, including three located in Florida. Now, the Hoffman Estates, IL-based retailer has added another 24 locations to be vacated, five of which are Kmart/Essentials located in Florida. The company could not disclose additional information about why these locations were chosen, or the exact size of each store. According to the company’s full-year results for 2008, Sears saw a net income of $360 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared to net income of $426 million in the fourth quarter of 2007.

A spokesperson tells GlobeSt.com that the average Southeast Kmart is about 90,000 square feet and each one employs anywhere from 50 to 100 individuals. Most of the locations are leased, a fact that will no doubt deal another big box blow to shopping centers.

One Kmart at 8191 S Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, along with two Essentials stores located at 9500 9th St. N in St. Petersburg and 2130 Gulf to Bay Blvd. in Clearwater have been closed. Now, additional locations will be shuttered at 4000 Goldenrod Road N, Winter Park; 2800 34th St. N, St. Petersburg; 3951 34th St. S St. Petersburg; 9200 Wiles Road, Coral Springs; and 15201 N Cleveland N, Fort Myers. According to information filed under Florida’s 2009 Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Notices, a total of 244 employees will be laid off in four of those locations. Lay offs at the Fort Myers location were not yet listed. So far in 2009, a total of 2,146 workers have been laid off within the retail sector in Florida, according to the state’s WARN notices.

“We will be closely monitoring stores throughout 2009,” says Sears Chairman Ed Lampert in a released statement, but did not include much else about the company’s strategy in closing more locations in the future, as reported by GlobeSt.com national online editor Ian Ritter. The company paid a total of $336 million in impairment, store closing and severance charges for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008 alone.

Additional Sears closings in the Southeast include one Kmart in each of the following cities: Marietta, GA, Knoxville, TN, Chattanooga, TN, Charlotte, NC and Columbia, SC. Sears Holdings has 3,900 stores nationwide, including more than 1,300 Kmart stores. The company is the nation’s fourth largest broadline retailer.

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