Kmart closing Gretna store, laying off 94 workers _lowres

Associated Press file photo -- Kmart plans to close its store in Gretna, laying off 94 workers in September.

Kmart plans to close its Gretna store on Sept. 14 and lay off 94 employees, according to a report filed Tuesday with the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Kmart is owned by Sears Holding Corp. The Gretna store, which opened in November 1979, will begin laying off workers over 14 days beginning Sept. 7.

“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,” said Howard Riefs, director, corporate communications for Sears Holdings.

Most of the store’s employees are part-time/hourly, Riefs said. The workers who are eligible will receive severance pay and may apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores. The number of workers available for severance was not immediately available.

Kmart now has 11 stores in Louisiana, including the Gretna store.

The other locations include two in Metairie, and one each in New Orleans, Mandeville, Gonzales, Houma, New Iberia, Lake Charles, Pineville and Bossier City.

Sears Holdings Corp. announced May 22 that 80 of its stores had closed or would close in 2014. Sears Holdings did not offer any details on which Kmart or Sears locations would close.

Kmart posted an operating loss of $98 million on revenue of $3.1 billion for the three months ended May 4. For the same period a year ago, Kmart had an operating loss of $28 million on revenue of $3.1 billion. The retail chain closed 88 stores over the 12-month period, ending with 1,123 stores.

Same-store sales dropped 2.2 percent, which Sears Holdings executives attributed to lower sales of consumer electronics, groceries and household goods.

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