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Posted: February 2, 2012 7:12 p.m.

Covington Sears to close March 27

By Gabriel Khouli/

Covington's Sears will close March 27 because of underperformance and is discounting prices in an effort to move its inventory.

The closing is apparently unrelated to the mass closing announcement of 100 to 120 Kmart and Sears stores made in late December.

"Sears Hometown Stores periodically opens (and) closes stores based on market performance. We appreciate the community support during our time in the Covington, Ga., area and look forward to serving customers through March 27, 2012," said spokesman Larry Costello in an email. "We encourage area residents to shop at our Monroe, Ga., Sears Hometown Store."

Costello did not say how many employees worked at the Covington store.

The Covington location at 5153 U.S. Highway 278 is one of Sears' Hometown Stores, which are generally located in smaller communities, average 7,700 square feet in size and offer appliances, consumer electronics, lawn and garden equipment and hardware. These stores are often independently owned, but the Covington location is corporately owned. Sears is headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Costello did not say when Sears first opened in Covington. According to the Newton County Tax Assessor's website, the building was built in 1994 and is 6,216 square feet. The building is owned by a local resident, not Sears. The property and building are valued at $409,400, according to the tax assessor's website.

Local employees declined to comment. According to an ad in The Covington News, the store has more than $385,000 of inventory, including appliances, vacuums, tractors and lawn mowers, blowers and weed trimmers, electronics, power and hand tools, tool chests, garages door openers, grills and more. All sales are final; no refunds or exchanges will be offered, according to the ad.

Sears Holding Corp., the parent company of Kmart and Sears, announced in December it would close between 100 and 120 if its stores, because of disappointing sales numbers. The company's revenue at stores open at least a year fell 5.2 percent to date for the quarter at both Sears and Kmart, the company said in December.

Out of the 81 stores initially announced, only six were in Georgia, including one Atlanta Kmart. The Covington Kmart was not in the first list of cuts.

National analysts said Sears has let stores deteriorate rather than invest in remodeling and has not matched the competitive prices of other retail chains. Sears Holding has seen sales decline every year since the $11 billion merger of the Kmart and Sears in 2005, according to Reuters. At the start of the year, the company operated 1,278 Kmart discount stores and 842 big-box Sears stores.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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