57 Sears Stores at Stake in Michigan

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As people read about the chance that Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ: SHLD) will close all its stores, the story about the individual locations and people who work in them gets lost. One example is the 57 Sears stores in Michigan, which dot large cities, the suburbs and some semirural areas. They are peppered through malls and standalone locations.

Presumably, each Sears store employs 50 to 100 people, based on the company’s worker count. Some cities have more than one Sears, which may be part of the retailer’s problem, although some of these offer products and services that are different from one another.

In the state’s capital, Lansing, Sears has a main store, an auto center and an appliance outlet. Three locations, the cost of real estate for each one and perhaps 150 to 300 workers. These people are not a large part of the Lansing population, which will not count much to them if they become unemployed.

It is telling that Detroit, once the largest and most vibrant city in Michigan, only has two locations. It is almost certain that 50 years ago, this store count was much larger. That is another Sears problem. It once had large anchor stores in some of America’s old industrial cities. Now those are gone as the cities have shrunk. Grand Rapids, still one of the state’s largest cities and a former manufacturing center, does not have a single Sears location.

Michigan has a typical Sears store map. Sometime soon, that map of locations may be empty.