Kmart Closing Its Pharmacy in West Lebanon Store

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    Pharmacist Dave Ambrose, of Lebanon, gets a hug from customer Linda Nordman, of White River Junction, at K-Mart in West Lebanon, N.H., Tuesday, December 5, 2017. It was Ambrose's last day serving customers as the pharmacy was set to close permanently at 4 p.m. Tuersday. "I'm really kind of sad," said Nordman who will miss Ambrose and the pharmacy staff. "They all take an interest in what's going on in your life." (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News — James M. Patterson

  • The pharmacy at Kmart in West Lebanon, N.H., closed permanently at 4 p.m. Tuesday, December 5, 2017. Signs posted inside the store notified customers that their prescriptions would be transferred to the CVS in the Upper Valley Plaza on Wednesday. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 12/5/2017 12:33:45 PM
Modified: 12/6/2017 10:33:49 AM

West Lebanon — The pharmacy inside Kmart on Route 12A abruptly closed its doors on Tuesday afternoon, catching many customers off guard.

Signs posted both outside the store and at the pharmacy counter informed customers the pharmacy would be “permanently closed” at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

“All of your prescriptions will be moved safely and securely to CVS Pharmacy and will be available on Wednesday,” the signs said. “It has been a pleasure serving you!!”

The closing is the result of a routine review of Kmart stores and individual departments as parent company Sears Holdings Corp. looks “to drive profitability,” according to a company spokesman.

“Based on this review, we decided to close the pharmacy department at the Kmart store in West Lebanon,” the spokesman said in an email on Tuesday.

The store itself will remain open, he said, adding that pharmacy customers were notified their prescriptions were being transferred.

But customers on Tuesday afternoon expressed surprise at the impending closing.

“I’m glad I came now because I didn’t know they would be closing at 4 o’clock today,” said Enfield resident Helen McIntire, who was at the store to pick up a prescription.

McIntire said the pharmacist delivered the news in person, which led her to wonder what would have happened if she instead dropped by a day later.

“I would have came and found that it’s closed and then what? What do you do?” McIntire asked. “I’m just very disappointed. I really am.”

White River Junction resident Peggy George also said the news was unexpected. She learned of the closing on Monday night.

“I just think that Sears pulled a pretty low blow on everyone in the area, especially at the holiday season too, when everybody’s so busy,” George said in a phone interview. “I’m extremely annoyed and it’s a big inconvenience.”

George and her family has used the Kmart pharmacy for about five years, and she praised the store for its customer service. However, they’ve had trouble finding out what will happen to future prescriptions or when the current ones will be available at CVS.

“As of yet, I don’t know what’s happening with my prescriptions, or my husband’s or my children’s,” George said on Tuesday afternoon.

The nearly 200,000-square-foot Kmart Plaza was constructed in 1971, according to city assessing records. The plaza was among several West Lebanon shopping centers that flooded during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, with some stores reporting as much as 2 feet of water.

Although Kmart closed while an estimated $2.5 million in repairs were completed, the company ensured the pharmacy stayed open in secure trailers.

The pharmacy closing comes just months after Sears closed its West Lebanon store, which had maintained a presence on Route 12A since the 1980s.

Bridgman’s Furniture this summer announced its 32,000-square-foot Miracle Mile store would be sold to Listen Community Services, a nonprofit. Other Route 12A stores — including a RadioShack, Borders bookstore and several independent retailers — also have closed in recent years.

Competition from nearby Walmart and online retailers appears to have challenged Kmart’s prominence in Lebanon, longtime residents Bruce and Roberta Underwood said. The two were shopping at the store on Tuesday after hearing rumors it could be closing.

“They’re taking the business away from these other places, I think,” Bruce Underwood said.

Sears reported last month that revenue and key sales figures are down as the company closes stores and shuts down pharmacies nationally, a response to pension funding issues and lower sales.

Sears plans to close 63 stores by late January, including 45 Kmart stores, on top of 250 locations already announced this year. West Lebanon’s Kmart store hasn’t appeared on any of those lists.

The company reported a net loss of $558 million in the three months ending on Oct. 28, compared to a loss of $748 million last year, according to The Associated Press.

Revenue during the third quarter also dropped 27 percent since last year, amounting to a total of $3.66 billion. The company has said it intends to continue maintaining “extreme cost discipline” into future quarters.

Tim Camerato can be reached at or 603-727-3223.

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