TROY, Mich.—Penske Auto Centers Inc. will work to keep open 20 outlets co-located with Kmart stores that have been earmarked for closure.
Kmart Corp. recently an-nounced plans to close 72 of its stores, but only 20 have Penske Auto Centers associated with them.
"We are assessing all possibilities to keep these locations open," said Randy Lawrence, chief financial officer for Penske Auto Centers. Of the 20 stores, six are freestanding; the remainder share their building with a Kmart store.
In 1995, Penske Corp. purchased 860 Kmart auto service centers and has closed about 200 of the locations since then. The 20 locations in question are "good stores," Mr. Lawrence said. "We would like to keep them."
Kmart's action will have no effect on the free-standing locations, Mr. Lawrence said. Penske also wants to keep as many of the co-located stores open as it can, he said, even if other retailers take over the vacated Kmart locations.
Penske Auto also will consider relocating any of those stores that are unable to remain in the former Kmart buildings, he said.
Kmart didn't give Penske Auto any advance notice of its plans to close most of the stores by November 1, nor were they required to do so, Mr. Lawrence added. "We'll work hard assessing possibilities to keep them (Penske Auto Centers) open," he said.
Kmart said most of the stores it had targeted for closure are marginally profitable, but factors like location and suitability for expansion precluded capital investment in those locations.