Weirton K-Mart Among Those Closing; St. Clairsville Sears Not Impacted

File Photo Although the Weirton Kmart, pictured here, is slated to close in mid-April, Sears and Kmart stores in St. Clairsville are expected to remain open.

Although four Sears and Kmart stores in West Virginia will close by mid-April — including the Weirton Kmart — officials with the Ohio Valley Mall said the St. Clairsville stores are in “good shape” and expected to remain open.

Mall Property Manager George Diab and Marketing Director Candi Noble-Greathouse both said they believe the Sears and Kmart stores at the mall will continue to operate without interruption, despite other store closures nationwide. Noble-Greathouse said it’s “business as usual” for both stores at the mall.

Joe Bell, director of corporate communications for The Cafaro Co., parent company of the mall, agreed.

“We’re OK at the Ohio Valley Mall,” Cafaro said Wednesday.

Sears Holdings confirmed Wednesday that the Kmart store on Three Springs Drive in Weirton will be closing in mid-April with a liquidation sale beginning Jan. 6. The Sears store at Charleston’s Towne Centre Mall also will close.

Bell said Cafaro has been keeping a close eye on the situation with Sears and Kmart stores, which he said have been struggling for years. He added that some of those stores have been slated to close at other Cafaro properties, but Cafaro has been able to secure leases with other retailers to take their places. Cafaro noted that Sears Holding Co. has even opted to close some stores that are profitable in order to cover overall operating costs.

Although he does not expect either Sears or Kmart to close at the St. Clairsville mall, he said Cafaro would act quickly to fill those spaces with one or more other shops if that should occur.

“Things have been good” at the Ohio Valley Mall, Bell said. “Even though certain pockets of the economy have had a tough time, overall the economic health of the mall is in good shape. That is the current status of all the stores, including Sears.”

Noble-Greathouse pointed out that the mall is currently enjoying a high occupancy rate, and new stores continue to open. As part of some new construction at the former site of the Bonanza restaurant on the mall’s perimeter, Aspen Dental has already opened with more shops to follow. Three of the five spaces there will be in operation by mid-January, Noble-Greathouse said, citing planned openings of Tony’s Spa, Sport Clips and, a bit later, 5 Star Nutrition. One more occupant of that space remains to be announced.

“We plan to keep these stores and get even more,” Noble-Greathouse said of the mall’s current tenants.

Sears Holdings released information about its third quarter 2016 financial results on Dec. 8. The company reported a net loss of $748 million, or $6.99 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $454 million for the third quarter of 2015.