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Local Sears not on list of store cuts

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Sears in Bemidji has no plans of closing, despite the recent announcement from Sears Holding Corp. to close between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores after poor sales were reported during the holidays, the most crucial time of the year for retailers.

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"Bemidji is not on this list," store owner and manager Ronald Bodenheimer said.

He said corporate Sears stores faced troubles, but hometown stores like Bemidji are doing well.

Over the holidays, Sears in Bemidji did considerably well compared to other stores in the region and district, Bodenheimer said.

Higher holiday sales were likely due to having nicer weather, Bodenheimer added.

"The weather allowed people to travel into Bemidji and shop," he said. "This created additional success other communities might not have had."

The top sellers this year at the Bemidji Sears were televisions and tools, Bodenheimer said.

"Needless to say we haven't sold as many snow blowers as we'd like," he added. "I'm sure other retailers here would say the same thing."

Nick Bitzer, assistant manager at Kmart in Bemidji, said the store has not received details yet on how holiday sales went and could not say whether the Bemidji Kmart was on the list of stores to close. Store manager Tim Hayen could not be reached.

In an internal memo Tuesday to employees, CEO and President Lou D'Ambrosio said that the retailer had not "generated the results we were seeking during the holiday," according to an Associated Press report Tuesday.

Sears Holdings Corp. said it has yet to determine which stores will close but said it will post on www.searsmedia.com when a final list is compiled. Sears would not discuss how many, if any, jobs would be cut.

The company has more than 4,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Its stock dropped $8.67, or 18.9 percent, to $37.18 in morning trading. The shares dipped to their lowest point in more than three years at $36.51 during the first few minutes of trading.

The company's revenue at stores open at least a year fell 5.2 percent to date for the quarter at both Sears and Kmart, the company said Tuesday. That includes the critical holiday shopping period.

Sears Holdings said the declining sales, ongoing pressure on profit margins and rising expenses pulled its adjusted earnings lower. The company predicts fourth-quarter adjusted earnings will be less than half the $933 million it reported for the same quarter last year.

Sears Holdings also anticipates a non-cash charge of $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion in the quarter to write off the value of carried-over tax deductions it now doesn't expect to be profitable enough to use.

Sears said it will no longer prop up "marginally performing" stores in hopes of improving their performance and will now concentrate on cash-generating stores.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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