VICTOR — For nearly five decades, shoppers headed to the Eastview Mall Sears to buy anything from refrigerators and stoves to lawnmowers, clothes, shoes and beds.
In short, just about anything could be had at Sears at one time, save groceries.
However, with a host of new competitors — many of them online, such as heavyweight Amazon — the numbers of shoppers entering its doors have declined significantly in recent years. And so have the earnings of the venerable retailer.
Store closings have been the norm over the past few years as Sears Holdings looks to trim costs, and on Thursday, that cost-cutting effort struck Eastview Mall, where Sears has been an anchor tenant since the mall’s opening in 1971 by Rochester-based Wilmorite.
Sears announced it was closing 33 unprofitable sites nationwide, including Victor, by November, with a store liquidation beginning as early as the end of this month.
Dennis Wilmot, senior vice president of leasing and development at Wilmorite, said in a statement Thursday that the “announcement that Sears at Eastview will be closing in November is disappointing but not entirely unexpected. The general public is well aware of Sears’ ongoing struggles in the rapidly changing retail environment. Wilmorite has invested millions of dollars over the past two decades to keep the mall a vibrant super regional shopping destination. The same cannot be said for the Sears store in Victor.”
Wilmot said the Eastview Sears, like 200 others nationwide, is owned by Seritage Growth Properties, and he expressed hope that the 123,000-square-foot space has a bright future.
“Seritage has successfully redeveloped many of these locations into vibrant retail complexes that complement, and in most cases, enhance the adjoining malls,” he said. “Given the success Eastview continues to experience in a difficult retail climate, the closure may be a result of the intangible value of the real estate and what it could become.”
The Sears at The Mall at Greece Ridge closed earlier this summer, and the only other one that remains in the region is at Marketplace Mall in Henrietta, which Wilmorite is developing into an outlet mall.
Neither Victor Town Supervisor Jack Marren nor Ontario County Economic Development Director Mike Manikowksi could be reached for comment Thursday.
Sears Holdings also announced that 13 Kmart stores are closing, but Kmart has already exited the Rochester-Finger Lakes region. Victor’s store closed at the end of 2017.
The announcement Thursday comes as Sears is considering a bid from CEO Eddie Lampert’s hedge fund ESL Investments to acquire its jewel, Kenmore appliances, from the company for $400 million.
In January, Sears said it was closing 100 stores. It announced in May that it was closing another 100. As of May 5, it had about 894 stores, down from about 1,000 at the end of last year. The number of stores peaked in 2012 at 4,000, which included the Sears Canada division that was later spun off. In 2005, when Sears merged with Kmart, it operated 2,200 stores.
The company indicated Thursday in a statement that more closings are ahead.
“We continue to evaluate our network of stores, which is a critical component to our integrated retail transformation, and will make further adjustments as needed,” the statement said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.