The Fresno Sears location at Manchester Center is seen in this 2018 file photo
Written by David Castellon
The Sears department stores in Visalia and at Manchester Center in Fresno, are expected to close in mid February, but an exact closing date hasn’t yet been set in Fresno.
Employees at the Visalia store at the Sequoia Mall said their last day of business will be Feb. 16, while employees at the Fresno store said they were scheduled to close some time in mid February, with a manager saying a more precise closing date hadn’t been set.
The two stores are victims of the latest rounds of closures of Sears and Kmart stores imposed by their parent company, Sears Holdings Corp., as it struggles to keep both chains afloat amid increased competition from Amazon and other online retail sellers.
With the closure of these two Sears stores and the closures earlier this year of those in Merced and Bakersfield, after mid February the only full Sears left operating in the Central Valley will be the one in Clovis, along with two Sears Outlet stores in Fresno and Bakersfield.
The Clovis store’s future seems uncertain, as retail experts have said 2020 could be a pivotal for Sears Holdings, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late 2018 in an attempt to keep its Sears and Kmart chains going.
Those financial problems already have resulted in the shuttering of all the Kmarts in Tulare, Kings and Fresno counties.