Sears Holdings plans to close another 72 money-losing stores as the department-store chain tries to stem the bleeding from its long-running sales crisis.
Sears said it would reveal the list of closures later on Thursday.
The company, whose stores include Sears and Kmart, has been engaging in a virtually nonstop campaign of downsizing as it seeks a turnaround that has proven elusive so far.
The closures are believed to represent about 8% of the company’s approximately 899 remaining stores, according to Susquehanna International Group retail stock analyst Bill Dreher. Sears Holdings has closed about 530 struggling locations over the last year.
The latest round of store closures will begin in the “near future,” the company said, and will be complete by early November.
Facing declining mall traffic, heightened online competition and strategic missteps, Sears sales have plummeted.
The company said it had identified about 100 nonprofitable stores overall, which included the 72 set to be shuttered in the “near future.” It did not say what would happen to the 28 other nonprofitable locations.
Sears swung to a net loss of $424 million in the first quarter, from net income of $245 million in the year-ago period, when the company had a temporary gain from the sale of its Craftsman brand.
The company said its sales at stores open at least a year — a key measure for retail companies — fell 11.9% overall during the latest quarter, including declines of 13.4% at Sears locations and 9.5% at Kmart stores.
The retailer said one bright spot was that same-store stores in the apparel, footwear and jewelry categories increased at both Kmart and Sears locations.
Sears reports its earnings as it still considers an offer by its largest shareholder and CEO Eddie Lampert to purchase the company’s Kenmore appliance brand and other assets.
Lampert said in a statement that Sears would “continue to explore opportunities to unlock the full potential of our assets for our shareholders.”
The company will also seek third-party partnerships and additional momentum with a new form of small-format locations.
Sears has inspired some hope in investors in recent months through a deal with Amazon to provide services for tires sold online, and with a credit card deal with Citi.
Source: Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY
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