TOMS RIVER – First it was Sears. Then it was Toys R’ Us. Now Kmart is saying sayonara in the new year. It’s the third in a series of blows suffered by Ocean County with major retailers shutting their doors, specifically in Toms River Township.
The Route 37 store, which has been in business for decades, is one of 80 locations that Sears Holdings needs to close as they deal with their ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.
As of Friday night, according to an Associated Press report on MarketWatch, Eddie Lampert and his ESL Holdings hedge fund have made a bid to buy the rest of Sears for up to $4.6 billion in cash and stock in a move to stave off liquidation. However, it appears they will continue with plans to close stores that have fallen on hard times and are no longer profitable.
Kmart has had difficulty staying ahead of the competition with stores like Target, Wal-Mart, BJ’s, Sams Club and Costco popping up around Ocean County.
The Kmart in Stafford Township was closed down in September of 2017. At this point, the property in the Stafford Square Shopping Center remains empty along with several other storefronts.
The Illinois-based company had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October, announcing the closure of unprofitable locations. More than 260 stores have already closed.
At the present time, New Jersey has 11 Sears and 12 Kmart stores left in the fleet. As of now, the Kmart of Toms River and the Sears Appliance and Hardware Store in the Howell Plaza Shopping Center will be closing.
The Sears in the Freehold Raceway Mall appears to be safe, at least for now.