By Ashley M. Casey
The Kmart at 2078 Route 481 in Fulton will close in mid-January 2014, Sears Holdings Corp. announced Friday, Oct. 11.
The Fulton store is among several others nationwide that are closing, including a 43-year-old Kmart in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The closures are part of Sears’ efforts to reduce expenses, refocus investments and change the direction of the company’s business model, said Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications for Sears Holdings.
Kmart and Sears merged in 2005.
“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,” Riefs said in an email to the Valley News.
Riefs also said the 51 employees of the Fulton store will be given the opportunity to apply to other Sears and Kmart stores.
Kmart shares the plaza with the Fulton campus of Cayuga Community College. River Glen Holdings Inc., an offshoot of Cayuga County Community College Foundation, Inc., owns the property. According to CCC’s website, Kmart had been committed to the lease on that property through 2018.
Jeffrey Rosenthal, vice president for student affairs at CCC, said the college had not yet discussed taking advantage of the upcoming vacancy in the plaza.
“In the short term, there are no plans to use that space,” he said in a phone interview. “In the long term, and certainly as enrollment grows, there will be a need for space, and the storefronts and Kmart will provide that space.”
Rosenthal added that any plans to expand the campus would need to be included in the next update of CCC’s facilities master plan.
An employee at the Fulton Kmart told the Valley News that the store’s manager would have no comment on the store’s closing.
Riefs said the store will continue to be open for customers up until January, and liquidation sales would begin Oct. 27.