Fernandina Beach, St. Augustine Kmarts to close

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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Kmart stores in Fernandina Beach and St. Augustine will close next year, no Sears stores in northeast Florida are on a list posted Thursday on Sears Holding's website.

Earlier this week the company announced that more than 100 Sears and Kmart stores across the country would close after weak holiday shopping season for the retailer.  only 79 stores are on what was called a partial list posted on SearsHoldings.com

The closest Sears stores on the closings list are in Crystal River, Fla., and Macon, Ga.  Kmarts in New Smyrna Beach, Pompano Beach and Callaway, Fla., and in Atlanta, Buford, Columbus, Jonesboro and Douglasville, Ga., are slated to close.

The list does not give a timeline for the Kmarts on Sadler Road in Fernandina Beach and  U.S. 1 in St. Augustine to close.

Sears Holdings is one of the nation's largest retailers with more than 4,000 stores in the United States and Canada. The company said earlier this week that sales at stores open at least a year, known as same-store sales, tumbled 5.2 percent in the eight weeks leading to Christmas Day.

That came from a 4.4 percent drop in sales at Kmart stores and a 6 percent slide in sales at domestic Sears stores. Shares of Sears Holdings are down more than 55 percent so far this year.

The announcement of store closings fueled speculation about whether Sears, which has a 125-year history, can turn itself around and survive. The company has been struggling with falling sales and shabby stores as rivals like Wal-Mart and Target spruce up their looks and turn into one-stop shopping destinations.

Billionaire investor Edward Lampert bought Kmart out of bankruptcy in 2003, and purchased Sears, Roebuck a year later.

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