Sears is closing over 100 more stores

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Sears is closing over 100 more stores


Sears Holdings, parent company of Sears and Kmart stores, told its employees Thursday that it will be closing more than 100 additional stores this year.

That consists of 64 Kmart stores and 39 Sears stores, all of which are expected to shut between early March and April.

“We will continue to close some unprofitable stores as we transform our business model so that our physical store footprint and our digital capabilities match the needs and preferences of our members,” the company said in a statement.

Sears wouldn’t say how many of its employees would be impacted by the closings but did say the majority of the jobs are part-time positions, and eligible associates will receive severance.

Liquidation sales will begin as early as Jan. 12 at the closing stores, Sears said. (See below for a complete list of the locations being shut.)

About this time last year, Seritage Growth Properties, the real estate investment trust that Sears CEO Eddie Lampert spun off from the retailer, said in an SEC filing that the department store chain had exercised its right to terminate the leases on 19 unprofitable stores. This marked the second time Sears chose to shutter a chunk of the stores it sold off to Seritage in 2015.

Since then, Sears has announced handfuls of additional closures and most recently unveiled plans to pay $407 million toward its pension plan in order to unlock and allow for the sale of 140 properties, though the company didn’t define when those sales will take place.

At the end of November, Sears reported a narrower net loss for its fiscal third quarter than it did a year ago, as the company pushes to return to profitability against a backdrop of vendor disputes and loans coming due.

Meantime, the department store chain has been testing smaller store formats across the U.S., and in some cases moving to occupy a pint-sized portion of a bigger box, as mall operators redevelop their properties.

On a recent call with analysts and investors, Sears CFO Rob Riecker said the retailer would be building on those new concepts in the coming months, “delivering specialized integrated retail experiences” to customers. Sears also recently started selling two of its brands, Kenmore and DieHard, on Amazon.com.

Earlier Thursday morning, Macy’s also revealed the locations of 11 stores that it will be closing in 2018 (nearing in on its previously announced plans to close 100 locations, beginning last year). The company has shuttered more than 120 locations since 2015, hoping that by whittling down its real estate portfolio it can focus on its best assets.

With growing competition from online players and with more brands choosing to sell through their own platforms, department stores including Sears, Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Kohl’s have been forced to rethink their strategies: what inventory they will carry and how they will get it to shoppers.

Sears shares have tumbled more than 60 percent over the past 12 months. The stock was falling close to 4.5 percent Thursday afternoon.

Click here for a full list of Sears’ latest round of closures.



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