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Over 100 Shopko stores closing nationwide due to bankruptcy

Posted: 5:03 PM, Jan 17, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-17 18:03:27-05
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Another Wisconsin-based retailer is struggling to stay open. Shopko announced it filed for bankruptcy and will be closing 105 stores nationwide.

Sixteen stores are closing in Wisconsin, three in Southeast Wisconsin: West Bend, Grafton and Sussex. Closing signs are posted at the stores set to close.

The Sussex and Grafton stores will close on April 8, and the West Bend location closes on April 15.

"I was surprised," said Linda Luft of Fredonia. "It's well-liked. The store is well-liked and people seem to come here a lot and enjoy the deals when they had them."

Customers at the Grafton store said they do most of their shopping there.

"Everything. Right now I'm gonna do some house things," said Vivian Laabs, Cedarburg.

Sari Lesk with the Milwaukee Business Journal said Shopko reported similar concerns as other struggling retailers.

"That their physical footprint of brick and mortar stores has posed a problem in terms of how much real estate their dealing with," said Sari Lesk.

Bankruptcy documents showed problems with Shopko's pharmacy business.

"They've said that it's been a struggle for them to operate that business," said Lesk.

Lesk doesn't think Shopko is alone.

"I do certainly think that you're going to see more closures among brick and mortar stores as far as bankruptcy goes only time will tell on that," said Lesk.

Retailers have a looming question.

"Can stores that have emphasized brick and mortar as their main channel can they compete with those online retailers," said Lesk.

Many customers at the Shopko in Grafton don't want to shop online and aren't sure where they'll go now.

Shopko said it will "continue to operate and serve its customers, vendors, partners and employees" during the restructuring. They plan to open several freestanding optical locations.