Sears closing

Sears at Mount Berry Square Mall will be closing in March. This photo was taken on Jan. 12, 2016. (Sarah Lane/RN-T)

The Sears store and its auto center at Mount Berry Mall plan to close in March, a corporate official announced Tuesday.

Howard Reifs, director of corporate communications for Sears Holdings, said in an email the store would begin a liquidation sale Friday.

“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,” Reifs wrote. “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.”

Reifs said the store and auto center have a combined 86 employees. Some will have an opportunity to apply for open positions at other Sears retail locations or Kmart stores. Kmart is a subsidiary of Sears Holdings.

Rome Kmart manager Mike Barger was not available for comment on the situation Tuesday.

In 1955, Sears moved from Broad Street and East Fifth Avenue to 418 E. Second Ave., now the home of Floyd Medical Center’s corporate offices. In 1991 it became a primary anchor tenant at the mall.

Rome City Commissioner Milton Slack was with the company for 12 years at the East Second Avenue location before making the move to the mall.

“There’s going to be a big void,” Slack said. “A reliable place to shop is going to be gone. A lot of history is going to be gone.”

Greg Major, Chick-fil-A Classics franchisee at the mall, said it’s disappointing when other tenants leave, because it affects mall traffic.

Calls to the Hull Property Group, owners of the mall, were not returned Tuesday.