Landmark Sears store closing for good

Was a community mainstay for 50 years


END OF AN ERA—Sears Holding announced late last week that it would shutter its Thousand Oaks store in September. The retailer opened in 1970, and for department store shoppers it was the only game in town. RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers

END OF AN ERA—Sears Holding announced late last week that it would shutter its Thousand Oaks store in September. The retailer opened in 1970, and for department store shoppers it was the only game in town. RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers

A destination for two generations of Thousand Oaks shoppers, Sears announced today it is closing its store on Hillcrest Drive.

Sears Holdings Corp. told employees June 28 that the Janss mall mainstay for nearly 50 years will shutter this fall.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to streamline the company’s operations and focus on our best stores, the company on Thurs., June 28 informed associates at the Sears store at 145 W. Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks that it would be closing in late September 2018,” Sears said in a statement emailed to The Acorn.

Spokesperson Larry Costello said the retailer is not making available the number of employees affected by the closure but eligible employees will receive severance and will have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores. The closest full Sears stores are in Ventura and Northridge. There is a Kmart in Camarillo.

The Thousand Oaks Sears store is one of two California stores slated for the company’s latest round of closures and one of 10 total on the June 28 announcement list. The other in-state location is in Newark in Northern California, Costello said.

The closure is part of nationwide trend for the dwindling retail giant.

Sears Holdings is declining to say how many stores it plans to close nationwide this year, but in May it issued a statement saying it had identified approximately 100 “non-profitable” stores, “many of which will begin store-closing sales in the near future.” These 100 were in addition to the 166 stores the company had already announced it was closing.

Sears Thousand Oaks opened to great fanfare in October 1970, according to news reports from the time. It debuted 50 merchandise departments on two selling levels.

In 1992, the store underwent a $3-million expansion. The expansion housed men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, which the store had discontinued three years earlier to the objection of local shoppers.

It wasn’t until 2014 that the store took its current shape. In September of that year city planners signed off on changes that would include subdividing the building. Though Sears would remain, Nordstrom Rack, Sports Authority and DSW shoe stores all signed leases in the building.

The changes were part of a new strategy by Sears Holdings, which around the same time shifted around 200 properties to the control of Seritage Growth Properties. The goal of the spinoff was to generate revenue by repurposing Sears buildings and leasing to new tenants.

Most recently, Dave & Busters announced plans to move into the space formerly occupied by Sports Authority.

In May, the Thousand Oaks Planning Commission granted the restaurant/bar/arcade, which is targeted at young adults, a special-use permit to have live entertainment, serve alcohol and stay open longer than normal T.O. business hours.