CORNELIA — Liquidation sales could begin as early as Friday at 78 Kmart stores and 26 Sears stores, including the Cornelia Kmart store.
The Cornelia store is among five Georgia Kmarts on the list of closures announced to associates on Wednesday and announced in a Thursday statement from Sears Holdings.
Habersham Chamber of Commerce President Judy Taylor discussed the planned closure Thursday.
"I hate for Habersham County to lose any business, and the chamber is here to support any and all business in the county," Taylor said. "It's very sad to think that they are leaving Habersham County. It's not that much of a surprise after I had heard the announcement sometime back that Kmart would be closing a number of stores across the Southeast. But I hate to hear about any business leaving Habersham County -- and they will be missed. They had certain items that you can't find anywhere else."
The rationale from Sears Holdings is for the corporation to return to profitability.
"Sears Holdings will continue to strategically and aggressively evaluate our store space and productivity, and accelerate the closing of some unprofitable stores as the company has previously announced."
On Wednesday, Jan. 4, the company informed associates at 78 Kmart stores and 26 Sears stores that their stores would be closing this spring.
That followed the company informing associates at 30 Kmarts and 16 Sears stores on Dec. 27 that their stores would be closing this spring.
"The decision to close stores is a difficult but necessary step as we take actions to strengthen the company’s operations and fund its transformation," the Sears Holdings statement reads. "Many of these stores have struggled with their financial performance for years and we have kept them open to maintain local jobs and in the hopes that they would turn around. But in order to meet our objective of returning to profitability, we have to make tough decisions and will continue to do so, which will give our better performing stores a chance at success. Eligible associates impacted by these store closures will receive severance and will have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Kmart or Sears stores."
The statement notes that liquidation sales will begin as early as Jan. 6 at all closing stores.
The stores will close at the end of March.