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Sears is closing over 100 more stores

CNBC logo CNBC 1/4/2018 Lauren Thomas
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Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears and Kmart stores, told its employees Thursday it will close more than 100 additional stores

That consists of 64 Kmart stores and 39 Sears stores, all of which are expected to close 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 will be affected but did say most of the jobs are part-time positions and eligible associates will receive severance.

Liquidation sales will begin as early as Jan. 12, Sears said.

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 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

Also Thursday, Macy's revealed the locations of 11 stores that it will be closing early this 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. 

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


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