ENID, Okla. — The Sears Hometown store in Enid is closing this summer, and the manager doesn’t know why.
Jeremiah Alcorn said he joined the team in March, and quickly, unexpectedly, took on the role of manager. Little more than a month later, the newly minted manager got some hard news: The store was being shuttered.
“I’ve only been manager here for a couple months, and they’ve already laid me off,” Alcorn said. There had been no warning — not when he applied, not during training.
The store’s last day is June 28, but he said he’s doubtful the stock will last until then, saying, “we’ve been selling out pretty fast.” Tools flew off shelves fast, but a number of appliances are remaining, he said.
Sales were good even before the going-out-of-business deals began, he said, which only makes the closure more surprising.
“I don’t know. We’re a premier store. I actually won an award in April for sales, and then they told us they were closing,” Alcorn said, adding that sales also were up from the previous year. “This store was doing great.”
He has been given no explanation as to why the store is being shut down, he said. His two coworkers are in the same boat.
“We’ve got a couple people left here, but we’re stressed out, there’s no communication,” Alcorn said.
When reached for comment, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores responded with a statement, but did not say specifically why the Enid location would be closed.
“Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores (SHOS) is always evaluating our network to determine which communities are best served by our stores. In some cases, for a variety of reasons, we opt to close certain stores. We thank the customers of Enid for their loyal support of the Sears Hometown and encourage them to visit http://www.sears hometownstores.com/store-locator to find the nearest open store location,” the statement said.
Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores separated from Sears Holdings, which owns the Sears and Kmart brands, and became its own independent business in 2012.
The majority of Sears Hometown stores are operated by franchisees, though if a franchisee steps away from a store, corporate will take over until a replacement is found.
Alcorn said the company has been running the Enid store since January.
According to 2018 financial report, there were 768 Sears Hometown and Hardware stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Bermuda, as of Feb. 3, 2018
The following year’s report put that number at 549 stores, as of Feb. 2, 2019.
Revenue from the Hometown stores also has been declining, from $1.4 billion in 2016, to $1.1 billion in 2017, to $960 million in 2018, according to financial reports.
SHOS did not share how many stores it would be closing in the state, but two other locations, in Ada and Broken Bow, have posted notice of liquidation sales.
The Sears Hometown stores website currently lists 13 stores in Oklahoma, including the Enid, Ada and Broken Bow locations.
Whatever corporate’s reason for taking Enid off the roster, Alcorn said he’s been caught off guard and on poor footing.
He said he was confident in his new job, secure in his new paycheck, and he scaled back operations on his lawn care company to accommodate his new duties.
Since his move to retail, most of his lawn care business has moved on from him.
“I’m about to be in the deep end by myself,” he said.