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Closings won’t affect local Sears

Sears corporate officials announced Tuesday plans to close 100-120 Sears and Kmart stores because of poor holiday sales, but local franchise owner Alan Jones said his store won’t be affected.

“I’ve had two or three people ask me about it already,” said Jones, whose store is located on the West Bypass in Anda-lusia. “I’ve spoken with the corporate people who told me it’s going to affect the stores like you see in the mall. Ours is not closing, and I don’t know of another hometown store that’s closing.”

The corporate closings are expected to boost bottom line figures for the retailer, which is home to brands including Craftsman tools and Kenmore appliances, who also expects to earn $140-$170 million by selling of inventory in affected stores and selling or subleasing store space.

The company also expects store closure and inventory reduction to lower peak inventory in 2012 by $500-$580 million.

Locally, Jones said Christmas traffic was better than years past, but overall sales were slightly less.

“Last year, the economy was bad enough that at Christmas, people bought what they needed, not what they wanted,” he said. “This year, I could tell the economy was better. People were buying things that they wanted, but the price per transaction was down. You have to sell a lot more tools and such to make up the price of a refrigerator.”

Jones said the economy isn’t at its “2006-level, but we hope to see things continue to improve.”

He said the service and repair side of the business continues to grow.

“To own any kind of retail store, you have to be optimistic or go crazy,” he said. “With that said, we all have to wait it out. Retail will come back and then the service industry will come back. Instead of buying new, right now, people are paying to have things fixed. It’s a trade off.”