Murrells Inlet Kmart to close in late April

MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) – As Kmart prepares to close its doors for good at the Inlet Square Mall, the shopping center is left trying to fill empty spaces.

Mall officials say they haven't received an official word from Kmart, but they did say the mall is actively searching for stores to fill the space, and that a big announcement is on the horizon.

Kmart began its liquidation sale on February 9, and will remain open to customers until it closes in late April.

The Murrells Inlet store has 50 employees, most of whom are part-time/hourly associates. Eligible employees will receive a severance, and will have the chance to apply for open positions at other Sears and Kmart stores in the area.

"Store closures are part of a series of actions we're taking to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model," stated Howard Riefs, director of Corporate Communications. "These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail – at the store, online and in the home."

The Murrells Inlet Kmart has been open since March 1990.

It's one of just a handful of anchor stores at the mall. A few years ago, the mall struggled through a bankruptcy filing and they remodeled in 2010 in hopes of luring more stores.

Belk, Steimart, Books-a-Million, and JCPenny, another struggling retailer, make up the other anchor stores, while inside, several smaller spaces remain empty.

As soon as Inlet Square Mall provides more details about the announcement and what store or stores may be coming, we'll get it posted on our web site.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.