KMart Closing Five Stores In South Mississippi

One of the nation's largest retail stores is completely moving out of Jackson County and laying off around 140 local employees in the process.

The KMart cooperation announced on Friday that it is closing hundreds of stores across the nation. The company filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

Mississippi is losing six stores, and two of them are in Jackson County. Those closures will take place in early May according to employees from both the Pascagoula and Gautier stores.

Many employees told WLOX news that K-mart's decision to close did not come as a surprise. Before the doors opened Friday morning, around 140 KMart employees at both Jackson County stores were told they would be laid off in 60 days.

Customers in Pascagoula say the store we'll be missed.

"I hate to see to it closed, because this is where I get my medicine and get a lot of my stuff down here. I like K-mart," Burince Belk said.

"We are going to miss KMart," Laura Heard said. "They are one of the best around because they have low prices. I love this store."

Customers in Gautier say the store's closure will have a big effect on the entire city.

"I think it is a shame, because there is not a lot here in Gautier," Jeanine Hunt said. "You either have to travel into Ocean Springs or into Pascagoula, and if you are in the middle, there is really no other place to shop."

"I'm going to miss the convenience when I come over here, and it's no big problem to find the things I want," Terrance Impey said.

Regional managers were at both stores on Friday but refused to make any comments. KMart employees told us off camera that they knew something was happening when freight cars arrived earlier in the week. Most customers say they weren't surprised either.

"No, not after all the news that we have been seeing about KMart, and about how financially in trouble that they are, especially with all the Wal-Marts," Hunt said.

Employees say big "going out business" sales are expected to start within the next few weeks.