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The last Kmart store in the Corridor will close later this year.
'We can confirm that we are making the difficult but necessary decision to close the Kmart store at 851 (Highway) 6 East in Iowa City. The store will close to the public in early September. Until then, the store will remain open for customers,” Sears Holdings spokesman Howard Riefs said in an email to The Gazette.
The store will start a liquidation sale on June 15, he said.
The Iowa City Kmart is the last such store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City or Coralville, according to the company's online store list. Business Insider reported Tuesday Sears Holdings also will close a Kmart in Marshalltown, along with 70 other stores, by September.
The next closest Kmarts are located in Oelwein and in Moline, Ill.
Riefs did not state how many employees the store's closure would affect and said 'the number of associates is not publicly available.”
Eligible employees, he said, will receive severance and be able to apply for positions at other Sears or Kmart stores, he said.
Steven Miller of Iowa City, a frequent customer, learned of the closing while in the parking lot Tuesday.
'We live a block away from here so it makes it real convenient for us,” he said. 'I go to the pharmacy all the time. It's where my wife buys all our necessities, pretty much every week.
'If this closes down it's really going be sad for this part of town and we're going to have to find some place else to go.”
Kathy Pounds of Hopkinton said she shopped regularly at other Kmarts.
'The Cedar Rapids one closed a long time ago,” she said, 'and then the Dubuque one closed and I went online the other day and found there was one in Iowa City still.”
The company closed its last Cedar Rapids Kmart in 2013.
Iowa City-based SouthGate Cos. has owned the 97,000-square-foot building Kmart occupies since the late 1960s. SouthGate is looking for a buyer for the property, but also will look for new tenants in the meantime, said Joe Hughes, director of real estate operations.
Hughes said he would expect multiple tenants to occupy the building after Kmart leaves.
'We are hoping that ultimately we or a new owner can bring in a tenant or several tenants that will create more jobs than Kmart was currently providing and offer a more modern shopping environment,” Hughes said.
He also said SouthGate is optimistic it or a new owner will be able to fill the space.
'We've seen in this market that large spaces have been filled pretty quickly,” Hughes said, noting the store's proximity to downtown Iowa City and population growth.
Tuesday's announcement is not the first time Sears Holdings, Kmart's parent company, has announced closures this year.
'We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity, and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable stores as previously announced,” Riefs said Tuesday.
In January, Sears Holdings said it would shutter 109 Kmart stores and 41 Sears by April of this year. Affected locations included Kmarts in Dubuque, Sioux City and Waterloo.
Gazette reporter Elianna Novitch contributed to this story.
This story has been updated to reflect a Business Insider report about additional closings.
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