Sears to close Chicago flagship store on State Street - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Sears to close Chicago flagship store on State Street

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A Chicago institution is leaving the Loop. Sears will close its flagship store on State Street in April, due to poor performance.

The hometown retailer had a prime location, at what seems to be the center of downtown Chicago. But the Hoffman Estates-based company says it can no longer support the store's operating losses.

A Sears Holding Corp. spokesman made the announcement in an email on Tuesday, saying the store's operational performance "has been poor through much of its existence." The spokesman also said the closure is part of efforts to reduce expenses and transform the retailer's business model.

"They struggled with their identity," Fox Business Contributor Phil Flynn said. "Now you can order what you want and have it delivered to your door."

Sears moved to State and Madison in 2001 from another Loop location, receiving $13.5 million in tax increment-financing assistance from the city. The retailer re-dedicated itself to the urban consumer and to revitalizing State Street. Sears raised millions for the Chicago Neighborhood Campaign but could not post profits, especially after this past holiday season.

Those who did shop here have fond memories, and are sad to see a household name leave the State Street shopping district.

Sears officials say about 160 employees will lose their jobs. Employees can apply at other Sears or K-Mart locations. The retailer will begin liquidating the store's merchandise on Jan. 26.

Chicago Public Schools administration will move into the building this year but the store space is up for grabs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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