Malls Vacancies Hit Six-Year High as Online Shopping Takes Toll… SEARS adds MORE stores to closings list

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Malls Vacancies Hit Six-Year High as Online Shopping Takes a Toll

Toll is felt across all types of brick-and-mortar outlets in the U.S. as iconic retail names close stores

Malls are the emptiest they’ve been since 2012, when the U.S. economy was still struggling to recover from the last recession.

The vacancy rate reached 8.6% in the second quarter, up from 8.4% in the first quarter, as more consumers shifted their shopping online, according to data from real-estate research firm Reis Inc. The highest postrecession vacancy was in the third quarter of 2011, when it hit 9.4%, Reis said.

Sears adds more stores to closings list; 78 set to close in September

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Ten more Sears and Kmart stores have been added to the growing list of locations slated for closure, a move that represents another step in the diminishment of what were once two of the nation’s most prominent shopping chains.

Sears Holdings, which owns both chains, said it informed employees Thursday that it would be shuttering nine Sears stores and one Kmart in late September. Liquidation is scheduled to begin as early as July 13, the company said in a statement.

With the additions, a total of 78 stores – 62 Sears and 16 Kmart locations – will close in September.

The addition of 10 wasn’t a total surprise. In announcing May 31 that it would close 63 stores, Sears Holdings said that it had identified a total of 100 underperforming stores – meaning they could be on the chopping block.

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Five more Sears stores were added to the closure list on June 6.

Sears and Kmart just keep shrinking. Sears Holdings has closed more than 500 stores over 15 months through the end of its fiscal quarter on May 5. At the time, it had about 900 stores left, according to Susquehanna International Group retail stock analyst Bill Dreher.

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