Kmart in Rapid City is one of 80 stores that will be closed by March, according to Sears Holding, which owns the Kmart stores.

The Kmart in north Rapid City is one of 80 stores that will be closed in 2019 by Sears Holding Corp., which made the announcement Friday.

Liquidation sales are expected to start in two weeks, according to a news release.

A manager contacted Friday afternoon at Rapid City's Kmart store at 1111 E. North St. said she could not confirm the store would be closed.

The list of closures released by Sears Holdings included Sears stores in Lincoln and Omaha in Nebraska and Bloomington, Minn., and a Kmart store in Rochester, Minn. Rapid City was the only location in South Dakota on the list.

The 80 stores are due to close by March. That's in addition to 182 stores already slated for closure, including 142 by the end of 2018 and 40 by February. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October, saying at the time it would close more than 20 percent of all stores, keeping open only its 500 most profitable locations.

In September, the Journal reported that local developer Hani Shafi of Dream Design International had purchased the Northgate Shopping Center, which is where Kmart is located. He said he planned to rejuvenate the 51-year-old shopping center that he acquired for more than $10 million.

Shafi also said that Kmart had a four-year lease on its 106,000-square-foot space. He was aware that the store could be on a future closure list.

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"If they decide to move on, then we'll work with them on it," he said at the time.

Sears Holdings, which also runs Kmart, joins the list of retail brands taken over by hedge funds that collapsed under the weight of debt forced upon them.

The 130-year old retailer set a deadline of Friday for bids for its remaining stores to avert closing down completely.

Under hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert, Sears has bought time by spinning off stores and putting on the block the brands that had grown synonymous with the company, such as Craftsman.

The company's chairman and biggest shareholder, Lampert loaned out his own money and put together deals to keep the company afloat and to turn whatever profit he could for ESL hedge fund. Lampert and ESL have been trying to buy the rest of Sears for up to $4.6 billion in cash and stock.

But no official bid appeared to have emerged as of 2 p.m. Mountain Time on Friday. Sears declined to comment.

The retailer that began out as a mail-order catalog in the 1880s has been in a slow death spiral, hobbled by the Great Recession and then overwhelmed by rivals both down the street and across the internet.

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