The company that owns Kmart stores announced Thursday that 28 stores across the country will be closed by the end of the year, including the last location in the metro-east.
Belleville’s Kmart, at 7230 Westfield Plaza, is among the 28 that will close by the end of the year.
Illinois has 17 Kmart stores, including the one at 7230 Westfield Plaza in Belleville and one in Springfield. The Belleville store’s manager was not available for comment Thursday morning. Nationwide, there are about 600 Kmart stores in the United States.
Kmart stores in Granite City and Alton closed in the spring of this year, part of the company’s shuttering of 150 stores. Kmart stores will remain in Springfield and the following Missouri locations: Florissant, St. Louis and Crystal City.
Sharon Kinkade of New Athens said she’s been going to the Belleville Kmart for 30 years. She said the prices and layaway option keep her coming back, and the store generally has everything she needs.
“I’m sad they’re closing, I’ve been coming here since my kids were young,” Kinkade said. “Especially around Christmas, they have good deals.”
For others, Kmart in Belleville is a convenient stop near work.
Paula Shasteen and Jennifer Guido work nearby and said they often go to the store on their break.
“A lot of people walk here; it’s convenient,” Shasteen said.
Guido said she also likes that Kmart carries the brand Joe Boxer, which produces socks, pajamas and other comfortable clothes.
Sears Holdings Corp. made the announcement in an online statement Thursday. The move follows a previous closure of 180 Kmart stores; another 150 stores are expected to be closed by the end of the third quarter this year.
While West Belleville shoppers won’t have the Kmart much longer, they will be able to shop at a new 24-hour Walmart Supercenter planned for a site across the street from the Kmart.
Malisha Firstlist, of Belleville, said she is not happy about the closing.
“This is the only stores that has layaway, and they have better clothes for kids,” Firstlist said. “The clothes are sturdier than Walmart’s.”
The Belleville City Council has approved Walmart’s plans and an engineering firm contracted by Walmart has said construction on the 195,000-square-foot store is expected to begin in 2018, and the store might be open in 2019 at the intersection of South 74th Street and Illinois 15.