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Chubbuck Sears to close

CHUBBUCK, Idaho - The Sears store in Chubbuck will close in early November, the company's corporate office said Thursday.

"Store closures are part of a series of actions we're taking to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model," said Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications for Sears Holdings, in an email to the station. "These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail -- at the store, online and in the home."

A liquidation sale will begin Aug. 15.

Riefs said the store has 28 employees.

"Those associates that are eligible will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores," said Riefs.

Steve White of Covington Realty Partners who oversees the business coming and going from the Pine Ridge Mall, said news of the closure came without any verbal warning from the Sears company, and this is the first time the mall has had to deal with a retailer bailing on its lease almost three years early.

White said he is, however, remaining positive that this could present an opportunity to fill that space with a more economically-stable retailer in the near future.

"Things have been positive so far," White said. "It was a big deal to have the previously vacant spot at the mall leased-out to Cal Ranch so quickly, within less than a year."

But, this closure shouldn't have anyone panicking about the state of our local business economy.

In fact, this closure had been coming for a long time, and shouldn't come as a shock to anyone.

President of the Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce Matthew Hunter said the closure does not reflect the surrounding business community. Just because a company leaves, is not an indicator of the local retail market.

"It all depends on the company," Hunter said. "At the same time Sears is leaving, Sportsmans Warehouse is opening. So, (this change) really doesn't reflect the was a corporate-based decision and there was nothing we could do about it."

Hunter said the region is still on the upward incline when it comes to the rapid incline in economic growth.

He said with the new events center moving in sometime soon and the new Knudsen Blvd. running through Chubbuck, we might even see a new hotel and even some restaurants moving in.

According to the Sears Holdings Financial Report, Sears Domestic reported an operating loss of $940 million in 2013, compared to the $656 million the previous year. Its operating 2013 operating loss included expenses related to pension plans, store closings across the country, and severance costs.

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