It looks like Ripon’s largest retailer will close before the holidays.

     A Ripon Kmart employee talking to the Commonwealth Saturday afternoon backed up previously unconfirmed reports that Ripon’s store at 1200 West Fond du Lac Street will close before Christmas.

     The 29-year-old Ripon store, only one of five remaining Kmarts in Wisconsin, is reported to be on company owner Sears Holding’s latest list of store closures.That list officially has not been released. However a list of stores the company is planning to shutter in mid December has been released on the Internet, including a posting on that reports the Ripon store will close in 2020. Its authenticity has not been confirmed.

     Ripon Store Manager Erin Pucker was not fielding calls Saturday concerning the possible closure.

     Instead, Ripon store employees were told to refer a reporter to the company's public relations office. That office via phone recording refers reporters to a “company statement” on its website dated Aug. 6, 2019 listing 26 Sears and Kmart stores that will close; neither Ripon nor Waupaca are on that list. However, Waupaca residents learned Aug. 23 that their store will close in mid November.

     Fox11 in Green Bay reported Saturday that the Ripon Kmart will close in 3 1/2 months, quoting company Public Relations Director Larry Costello issuing the following statement:

After careful review, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to close the Kmart store in Ripon, Wisconsin. A liquidation sale is expected to begin in mid-September and the store is planned to close by mid-December. We encourage customers to continue shopping on for all their product needs.

     Shortly after midnight Saturday morning, USA Today reported that more Kmart and Sears stores will be closing by the end of this year.

     That story was released just weeks after Sears Holdings had announced that 26 Sears and Kmart stores would close in October, with almost 100 more stores set to close in December at the latest. 

     Sears Holdings currently is in bankruptcy proceedings.