Sears is closing its last store in Chicago

Key Points
  • Sears Holdings will close its last department store in Chicago by July.
  • The location had been sold to REIT Seritage and leased back to Sears as part of a major real estate transaction three years ago.
  • Sears says about the move: "For more than 120 years, Sears has called Illinois home and that is not changing."
Sears to close its last store in Chicago

Sears Holdings will later this year close its last department store in Chicago, where the company was based for more than 100 years, a spokesman told CNBC.

The Chicago Tribune first reported on the news Thursday afternoon.

The Sears location at Six Corners in Chicago was among the roughly 260 stores sold to real estate investment trust Seritage Growth Properties in a sale lease-back transaction three years ago, the spokesman said. Seritage has recaptured the space, based on their contractual agreement, and is able to bring in new tenants, he said.

Seritage didn't immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

The Sears store will stay open until mid-July, and the Sears Auto Center, also at Six Corners, will close next month. Liquidation sales at this location are expected to start on April 27.

"The Sears at Six Corners was the shopping district's anchor business since it first opened to large crowds on October 20, 1938," Sears said in a statement. "For more than 120 years, Sears has called Illinois home and that is not changing. Although we are disappointed by this last store closure in Chicago, by no means does this change our commitment to our customers and presence to Chicago's residents."

Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Sears declined to comment on how many employees would be impacted by the closure. Though it said it would keep about 150 employees at one of its offices in Chicago "dedicated to serving our members and customers, as we pursue our vision of an integrated retailer."

Earlier this year, Sears announced a round of more than 100 store closures, all expected to be complete by this month. The company also recently raised enough money to pay $407 million toward its pension plan in order to unlock and allow for the sale of 140 other properties.

In selling unprofitable assets, Sears has said it hopes to raise liquidity and get back to profitability. The retailer's total revenue for the holiday period declined more than 25 percent.

CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to say Sears was based in Chicago for more than a century. It was founded in Minneapolis.