The Sears department store at The Maine Mall in South Portland will close in mid-September after nearly 50 years of operation.

Craig Gorris, manager of the Brookfield Properties-owned mall, confirmed the closing and said that Sears officials have told him that the retail outlet and mall anchor’s last day of operation will be Sept. 13. A Sears spokesman declined to comment on the impending closure.

In Friday’s Portland Press Herald, Sears ran an advertisement for a “store closing sale” at the mall location, the only remaining Sears in Maine. Another Sears in Brunswick, once the anchor tenant of the Cook’s Corner mall, was slated to liquidate and close in mid-April, but that changed when an outbreak of COVID-19 occurred at the store in mid-March, shutting it down indefinitely.

The iconic retailer has been struggling for years. Sears was once the largest retailer in the world, but sales and profits have been lost in recent years to online giants such as Amazon as consumer habits changed.

Former Sears parent company Sears Holdings of Illinois filed for bankruptcy protection in 2018 just before a $134 million debt payment was due. The company had racked up losses of over $6 billion since the beginning of the decade.

At the time of the bankruptcy, Sears Holdings, which also owned Kmart, had 687 stores and 68,000 employees. At its peak in 2012, its stores numbered 4,000.

In 2019, a judge approved a $5.2 billion plan by Sears’ chairman and biggest shareholder, Eddie Lampert, to keep the iconic business going under new corporate ownership. The new company, called Transformco, initially retained 425 Sears and Kmart stores and 45,000 jobs, but it has subsequently implemented multiple rounds of store closures.

Now, only 61 Sears locations are expected to remain open after another round of closures announced this month.

The coronavirus pandemic has only worsened financial prospects for Sears and many other brick-and-mortar retailers. On Thursday, Ascena Retail Group, owner of Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant stores, filed for bankruptcy protection and said it would close stores as part of its reorganization. It has not identified the specific locations yet.

The Sears store at The Maine Mall dates to the mall’s creation in 1971.

Sears owns its property at the mall, along with a restaurant site in the parking lot that houses Mexican eatery On the Border, so the company would have to make any determination regarding whether it would sell the site or sign a tenant to take up occupancy.


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