There'll be one less shopping option in Superior for customers looking for hardware, appliances, and outdoor yard equipment.  The Sears Hometown Store that's been located in the Mariner Mall for the past 15 years or so is closing its doors after a liquidation event is finalized at some time this month.

The closure is directly related to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed by it's parent company Sears Authorized Hometown Stores LLC.  That filing happened on December 12 for the business model sometimes referred to as "the other Sears". The chain of smaller, inventory-specific stores was "spun off" from the larger Sears stores to "give the parent company a much-needed infusion of cash", following its own bankruptcy issues a number of years ago.

News of the bankruptcy-forced closure came quickly for Superior store owner Dave Dittbrender.  According to details in an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall], "[t]he director of sales that [he]....worked with learned of the bankruptcy about 20 minutes before store owners were notified by email".

It appears that problems arose over inventory and capital.  Dittbrender has gotten the Superior Sears Hometown Store ready for new models to arrive after the first of the year back in October.  The new incoming inventory and a shortage of funds became an issue for the corporate owners:

"...Sears was unable to secure new inventory because of its financial challenges, resulting in a rapid downward spiral that resulted in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to the filing by Sears Hometown Stores Inc. CEO Elissa Robertson."

Sears Hometown Stores expects to close all of its' remaining locations once the inventory - "furniture, fixtures, and equipment" - is sold off to customers.  Locally, Dave Dittbrender "doesn't expect the sale to last beyond January when his doors will close for the last time".

Using a smaller footprint, the business model for Sears Hometown Stores allowed for inventory that focused on "appliances, tools, and outdoor equipment", using a footprint that was "8,000 to 10,000 square feet, a fraction of the size of the average full Sears, which is about 160,000 square feet".  Three years ago, there were approximately 700 Sears Hometown Stores operating across the country; there are "roughly 100" operating right now.

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