Kmart closing store in Murrells Inlet

dbryant@thesunnews.comFebruary 10, 2014 

Kmart, one of a few anchor stores at Inlet Square Mall, will close in late April, leaving a hurdle for a mall that’s been aiming for a comeback.

Kmart started its liquidation sale Sunday. Kmart spokesman Howard Riefs didn’t have a specific closing date beyond late April.

“Store closures are part of a series of actions we’re taking to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” Riefs said. “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.”

Kmart has two other stores in Horry County, in Myrtle Beach at 1403 N. Kings Highway and in Conway at 1610 Church St. There are no plans to close those stores, Riefs said.

Kmart is a major draw at Inlet Square Mall, which has struggled to rebound and bring in new stores after emerging from bankruptcy a few years ago. The mall finally finished a renovation in 2010 that had stalled during the bankruptcy, spruced up the exterior with new signs and lured the Frank Theatres movie theater and bowling complex in 2011.

The Murrells Inlet mall still has Belk, J.C. Penney, Bath and Body Works, Books-a-Million and Stein Mart, among others, though many empty stores remain.

Mall officials declined to comment on Kmart’s closing, saying they haven’t been formally notified by Kmart that it’s leaving the mall.

“Inlet Square is actively seeking new stores and will notify the press as soon as we have any new store openings to announce,” mall spokeswoman Kelly Pratt said.

Kmart in the mall has 50 employees, who will be eligible to receive severance and can apply for open positions at other area Kmart and Sears stores, Riefs said.

Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296.

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