Kirkland’s will go under the knife to save it from bankruptcy
The largest retailer in the state of Washington, Kirkland, announced on Wednesday that it will close its flagship store in Kirkland and that it would begin to sell its remaining stores.
The move comes as the nation’s second-largest retailer has faced a series of recent closures, including in Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver.
The Kirkland department store chain has more than 3,000 stores in the United States, Canada and Europe.
Kirkland has been facing bankruptcy since March.
Kirkwood was previously a part of the Amway chain.
“We are deeply sorry for the loss of the opportunity to grow and expand the Kirkland brand, but it is a necessity in order to maintain the vitality and growth of the company and the employees who work there,” said Doug McKinnon, chairman and CEO of Kirkland.
“The closure of this Kirkland store will not impact the ability of our customers to continue to purchase Kirkland products, merchandise or services.”
Kirkland stores in Seattle and Tacoma have been shuttered since last week, after the company said it would close all of its stores by early January.
In a press release announcing the decision, Kirkwood CEO Doug McKirkland said that the closure of the Kirklands stores “will be short-lived.”
“The Kirklands business is a core asset for our community, and this loss will not have a material impact on the Kirkwood family’s financial stability,” McKirk, who has owned the Kirklanders company since 2007, said in the release.
McKirk also said that Kirkland is not in danger of bankruptcy.
Karen Shumway, president of the National Federation of Independent Business, said Kirkland was already facing a number of difficulties during the financial crisis.
“[They’re] not alone,” she said.
Shumway said the retailer is “deteriorating” in its financial condition and that the closures were part of a larger trend in the retail sector.
When the Kirkelsons began selling to independents in the late 1990s, they faced competition from the smaller, independent stores of the same name, Shumways said.
Kirklands “was one of the last remaining independent stores in Kirklanders community and Kirklands community, the only remaining independent retailer,” ShumWay said.
“Kirklands continued to prosper as a small business through the years and today it’s a success story.”
In 2016, the Kirklander Group and Kirkland agreed to merge the Kirksons company with Amway.
The new entity will now focus on growing the business by investing in its stores and marketing programs, while maintaining the value of Kirklanders brand and assets.
While many in Washington State have become more aware of the decline of the independent store movement, Shummway said that many smaller independent stores are also suffering.
She said that she thinks many of the stores are not seeing the growth in their customer base, especially those that are small, because the stores don’t have the resources to pay for additional marketing and advertising, she said in an interview with The Washington Post.
“The fact is that most small independent stores have very little staff and they are not getting the resources needed to increase their customer bases and keep up with demand,” ShummWay said, adding that she believes Kirkland will need to restructure to increase its sales and margins.
Meanwhile, the store closures are expected to save the Kirk-Larsen-owned Kirkland the loss that comes with the closing of the current store, which is located on the first floor of the mall, according to the Seattle Times.
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