Hastings was open for business when this photo was taken Friday afternoon, but the corporation announced the store would close March 15. L&T photo/Earl Watt
By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Fans lined up for midnight releases of Harry Potter book titles at Liberal’s Hastings store in the past, but there was not enough excitement overall to sustain the attractive book, video and music hangout.
Hastings Chief Financial Officer Dan Crow released a statement announcing the closing of the chain’s Liberal store, stating that it was due to “store operating profit being less than that required by management.”
Video rental locations have been disappearing in Liberal. The community has seen the closure of Video Vendor, Movie Gallery, and the discontinuation of the rental store inside Dillons. This may be due to Red Box outlets that have cropped up at Walgreen’s and Dillons plus the growing popularity of Netflix and other satellite and online movie rental outlets.
Hastings has set a closing date of March 15.
According to the company’s release, the store has about 25 employees. Gift cards to the store can still be redeemed at www.gohastings.com.
The closure was a part of an overall business strategy according to Crow.
“We typically close about two or three stores a year and open up four to six and relocate them,” he said. “We grow the store base every year.”
But the store in Liberal was not declining.
“It is tied to when the lease expires,” he said. “If a lease is expiring and it is not generating cash flow to cover the investment, then we look at it.”
While the Liberal store was closing, other Kansas stores were unaffected.
“We have a lot of stores in Kansas that do extremely well,” he said. “We wish this wasn’t the case. We have a lot of good customers there. We feel bad about it, but it is strictly business.”