Fairbanks Sears to close

The Fairbanks Sears store on Airport Way is seen in this 2014 file photo

FAIRBANKS - After avoiding the ax in four previous rounds of store closures, the Sears store off Airport Way in Fairbanks is slated to close in February 2019.

On Thursday, parent company Sears Holdings announced the latest round of 40 Sears and Kmart stores that will close. The Sears auto departments will also be shut down.

Sears and Kmart merged in 2004, one year after the Kmart store on Airport way shut down.

The Nov. 8 announcement also states that liquidation sales are expected to start at the closing stores late next week.

According to the Fairbanks North Star Borough's online property databases, the property Sears is located on is valued at just over $2 million, and the building is valued at $11.4 million, for a total valuation of $13.46 million. The property's annual tax bill is $267,092.26, and the owner, Sears Roebuck, & Company, is current on all tax bills.

When reached by phone on Thursday, management at Fairbanks' Sears store said only "no comment," including when asked how many employees work at the branch. The Sears store in Anchorage closed in January.

Sears has been closing large numbers of stores since at least December 2011. Additional closures were announced in 2012 and January this year. Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October, accompanied by another round of closures targeting 142 Sears and Kmart stores.

Sears has been in the location on Airport Way since 1991, when the company renovated an entertainment complex called The Center. The closure follows on the heels of another prominent chain leaving Fairbanks, the January closure of Sam's Club.

But the void left by Sam's Club was quickly taken as an opportunity for wholesaler Costco to enter the Fairbanks market. The new Costco store is slated to open Nov. 20 off College Road, just in time for the holiday season.

Sears is expected to be left with fewer than 500 stores after all currently planned closures are complete.

Contact staff writer Robin Wood at 459-7510. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMcity.