Lake Havasu City could see its last “Blue Light Special” next month, after an announcement that Havasu’s Kmart location will become the latest in a slew of recent store closures.
An announcement came Thursday from Illinois-based Transform Holdco, which has owned the Kmart and Sears retail franchises since purchasing the chains this February. Havasu’s Kmart was the only Kmart location in Arizona slated to be closed this winter, and the company said more than 100 Sears and Kmart stores will be shuttered by this December and early January. Although Kmart has struggled nationally for the past several years, its absence will be noted by Havasu residents.
“I come here pretty often,” said Kara Lindsay, of Havasu, who was shopping at the location Thursday evening. “It’s better than going all the way out to Walmart … it’s easier, and more convenient.”
For retail shoppers, alternatives can be found at multiple small businesses, but the only similar alternative to Havasu’s Kmart would be Havasu’s Walmart Supercenter, located almost 10 miles away from Kmart’s McCulloch Boulevard location.
“(Kmart) is right in the middle of everything,” Lindsay said. “It’s the perfect spot for a store like this in town … it’s about a five-minute drive whether you live on the south side or the north side. I know they’ve closed most of the Kmarts in Arizona in the last few months, but this was the only store in town, centrally located, that had pretty much everything you needed.”
Once giants in the retail industry, Kmart and Sears have for the past several years faced increasing pressure from online competitors. While efforts have been made to save the two outlets, Transform Holdco has continued to close dozens of Sears and Kmart stores throughout the country. With a similar decline among major retailers nationwide, Kmart’s closing will follow that of Havasu’s Sears Hometown Store, which announced its own pending closure in September. The Sears Hometown stores, however, were independently owned and not affiliated with the retail stores.
“I heard they were shutting down,” said Havasu winter visitor Mike Trihey, who was shopping at the Kmart location Thursday. “It doesn’t surprise me, with the troubles Kmart and Sears have had. I think they’ve been overcome by Amazon … I actually came here tonight to buy a new radio, but they don’t even sell them here anymore. Walmart will be my alternative, but it’s probably 20 to 25 minutes away.”
Transform Holdco announced Thursday that Havasu’s Kmart location was one of 96 stores nationwide to be closed before February.
Local Kmart management deferred all questions about the closure to Transform Holdco. Attempts to contact Transform Holdco public relations officials by telephone were unsuccessful as of Thursday afternoon.