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Posted: 11:39 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014

Kmart in Xenia is closing; city 'disappointed'

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K-Mart in Xenia photo
Jim Witmer
Kmart is planning to close this Xenia location in late April. The store employs about 57 workers. JIM WITMER / STAFF

By Breaking News Staff and Sharahn D. Boykin

XENIA —

The Kmart in Xenia will close in late April, eliminating 57 jobs at its West Main Street location.

"Store closures are part of a series of actions we're taking to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model," said Howard Riefs, the corporate communications director for Sears Holdings — Kmart's parent company, in an email. "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."

The store's liquidation sale is scheduled to begin Feb. 9.

In addition to the Xenia store, Kmart is also planning to close its Westlake location, in northeastern Ohio, around the same time, according to Riefs.

Kmart was built on West Main Street almost 40 years ago, according to city officials, and was part of the redevelopment effort within the city after a tornado struck Xenia in the 1970s.

More recently, Xenia Development Director Steve Brodsky said redevelopment of the shopping center was included in the city's comprehensive land use plan.

The city approached Kmart about developing a parcel of land close to the retail chain around two years ago, Brodsky said. Kmart had the final say, as indicated in a lease agreement, and shut down the deal citing concerns about parking and visual issues.

"While this is an unfortunate event, some of those ideas that the community brought forth and city brought forth and worked on can now come to fruition and we might be able to redevelop this shopping center into something more positive that will attract a good mix of retailers that will really meet the community's needs," Brodsky said.

Brodsky said he expected the store closing, which he described as a "disappointment to our community," to have a significant impact on the city's older population.

"It also effects a lot of the people who live around that store," Brodsky said. "There are several senior housing developments, high rises, around there, and a lot of those residents really relied on Kmart for some of their basic needs."

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