Restructuring forces Kmart to close 72 stores

In an effort to upgrade technology and reduce inventory in all stores, Troy, Mich.-based Kmart Corp. has decided to close 72 under-performing stores and six Super Kmarts nationwide by Nov. 1. The closings represent roughly 3% of company's total store count and the elimination of an estimated 5,000 jobs in 26 states. The stores closing are a mix of stand-alone units and neighborhood shopping center-based stores. Kmart said renovating the facilities would not make sense financially.

One REIT that will be affected by the closings is New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Kimco Realty, which will lose 14 Kmart stores. However, 12 of the 14 leases extend through 2004, and Kmart is obligated to pay rent for the remainder of the leases, according to Jonathan Lift, a Salomon Smith Barney analyst.

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