NORTH ATTLEBORO — Another 96 Sears and Kmart stores around the U.S. are slated to close but the only Sears in the Attleboro area, the one at Emerald Square mall, has been spared again.
The store, one of the anchors and an original tenant of the Route 1 mall when it opened in August 1989, wasn’t on the list of closures announced Thursday by company owner Transformco.
It also was spared the ax last December when 80 Sears closings were announced, which followed 182 previous Sears closings.
The latest list includes Sears stores in Auburn and Leominster, and Kmart stores in Billerica and Acton.
The stores will close by February 2020 and going out of business sales are expected to start Dec. 2.
The closures will leave 182 Sears and Kmart stores, including Sears in Braintree, Brockton, Marlboro, Saugus and North Attleboro. Kmarts will remain in Holyoke and Hyannis.
Transformco, which purchased the assets of Sears Holdings Corp. in February, says it has faced a “difficult retail environment and other challenges.”
Sears, which has been around for 131 years, filed for bankruptcy last fall. At the time, it operated about 700 Sears and Kmarts.
The iconic retailer began as a mail order catalog in the 1880s, selling everything for a home, as well as houses themselves.
Sears grew into thousands of stores but has been in a slow death spiral, hobbled by the Great Recession and then overwhelmed by rivals both down the street and across the Internet.