Business Journal (12-29-11)

In Business News for Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - there are a couple of Wisconsin casualties so far in the Sears and Kmart list of stores that will close. One Sears store and one Kmart in Wisconsin are among the store closings announced this week by the parent company of Sears and Kmart. The Sears Grand/Essentials in West Baraboo and a Rice Lake Kmart are on the partial list of store closings released Thursday. The list represents 79 of the 100 to 120 store closings announced Tuesday by Sears Holdings Corp. The company says it could not provide the total number of affected employees. But a notice filed Thursday with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development says the Rice Lake Kmart will permanently close March 18, 2012, affecting about 71 workers. Sears Holdings said it could no longer prop up "marginally performing'' locations and would refocus its efforts on stores that make money. Sears and Kmart merged in 2005.

Also, it could soon be tougher to find some very in-demand Packers jerseys. A new supplier combined with the Packers popularity might make favored jerseys like Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews scarce over the next three months and then more expensive. In April, Nike and several other new vendors will take over from Reebok. Retailers say Reebok ordered conservatively going into the season. Their plans also were also affected by the NFL lockout, which still was in effect when buying decisions were made. Brian Swallow, with online retailer Fanatics, says sales of their Packers items are up 170 percent. He says retailers have to predict sometimes a year in advance. Mike Walters, manager of the Jersey Store in Ashwaubenon, tells the Green Bay Press-Gazette the cheapest Nike jersey will be $100, up from $75. Authentic jerseys will be $250, a $60 to $75 increase.