LIHU‘E — Sears is bidding aloha to the Garden Isle, and putting more than 40 employees out of work.
The Sears store and Auto Center at Kukui Grove Center will close at the end of July, said Howard Riefs, spokesman for Sears Holding Corp.
The announcement was made Wednesday, and employees were informed at a staff meeting.
The store will begin a liquidation sale on May 30.
“The store closures are part of a series of actions we’re taking to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” Riefs said in an emailed statement Wednesday.
The store has 41 employees, and Riefs said they will have an opportunity to apply for positions and other Kmart and Sears stores.
“We are saddened to see a store that has played such an important role in providing our community with quality goods and services leave Kaua‘i,” said Wade Lord, vice president of Kukui Grove Center. “Sears has provided jobs for many Kaua‘i residents since 1982 and its closing will impact them and their families greatly.”
Sears was one of the first stores to open at Kukui Grove Center in 1982. Prior to that, Sears operated a location in Lihu‘e, near the present day Lihu‘e Civic Center.
In August of 2000, Sears opened a second location at Kukui Grove Center, selling electronics and other household items.
The two locations are a combined 59,000 square feet, and Lord said Kukui Grove is in talks with prospective clients to fill the vacancies.
He hopes to finalize the agreements soon.
“We’re excited to bring these new retailers to Kukui Grove Center, and hope this will create employment opportunities for some of the people affected by the closure,” Lord said.
The news of Sears closing comes after an announcement in March that the company will lay off 327 workers at its Ala Moana location in 2014.
Jason Ehrenberg, store manager of the Kaua‘i location, declined to comment.
• Andrea Frainier, managing editor, can be reached at 245-0427 or firstname.lastname@example.org.