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Sears at WestShore Plaza closing in January

The latest nail in the coffin for Sears stores came Friday in an announcement that an additional 80 stores will close — including the WestShore Plaza location.

According to a list released Thursday by parent company Sears Holdings, the WestShore Plaza store will be shuttered by late January along with the others "as part of Sears Holdings' processes to accelerate its strategic transformation and facilitate its financial restructuring."

All locations included in the release will be closed by late March 2019, with liquidation sales beginning in as little as two weeks. Sears Auto Centers at those locations will also close.

The WestShore Plaza Sears is the only Tampa Bay location included in the list, which has six other Florida stores.

Employees, the release said, were notified of the closures Thursday.

The additional closures come after the retail giant filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in October, driven by significant debt and waning sales. The company hadn't turned a profit since 2010, and has lost about $11 billion since 2011.

At that time, Sears Holdings announced that 142 Sears and Kmart stores would close by the end of 2018.

Two Tampa Bay locations — Kmart on Busch Boulevard and Sears at Citrus Town Center — closed this fall, while another handful of locations will close by the end of the year.

The WestShore location was slated for termination even before the Thursday announcement. Washington Prime Group, the group that owns the Sears location, told the Tampa Bay Times in October that it was ending its Sears lease early and will put something new in the space.

"Tenants which have failed to evolve in order to satisfy an increasingly savvy consumer do not belong in our assets," Washington Prime CEO Lou Conforti said in a statement to the Times in October.

Sears Holdings closed at 17 cents per share Friday, down more than 2 percent. Shares were down by about 95 percent over the year.

Contact Malena Carollo at mcarollo@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.

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