CHICAGO (AP) _ A federal judge has approved Kmart's plan to close 316 stores and borrow $2 billion as part of its effort to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and continue operating.
Bankruptcy Judge Susan Pierson Sonderby approved those elements of the company's reorganization plan Tuesday.
The store closings, which Kmart had announced earlier, will leave the company operating about 1,500 stores, located in every state except Alaska.
Kmart attorney Jack Butler called the closings fundamental to the retailer's plan to leave bankruptcy in April.
``Kmart's goal is to continue serving as many communities as it can across the country, but it's got to do it on a profitable basis,'' he said.
Kmart had planned to close 326 stores, but Butler said eight had been taken off the list after Kmart was able to renegotiate their leases. Two more store closings will be delayed while the company attempts to renegotiate leases.
About 30,000 Kmart employees are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the store closings.
Kmart's has proposed a reorganization funded largely by ESL Investments Inc. and Third Avenue Trust, which would invest $293.4 million in exchange for stock.
The court must first approve the plan.