Kmart and Sears closing unprofitable stores by summer

Kmart and Sears closing unprofitable stores by summer

Company announces store locations to be closed. PHOTO: USA Today

Sears Holdings announced on Thursday it will close 68 Kmart stores and another 10 Sears locations in a move to boost profitability for the company.

In a press release, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Edward S. Lampert said, “The decision to close stores is a difficult but necessary step as we take aggressive actions to strengthen our company, fund our transformation and restore Sears Holdings to profitability.  We’re focusing on our best members, our best categories and our best stores as we work to accelerate our transformation.”

Sears Holdings announced in February it would accelerate the closing of unprofitable stores in its portfolio, and the new announcement comes after the company conducted an comprehensive evaluation of their facilities that involved recent store performance as well as the timing of the expiration of leases, according to the release.

The statement continues to say the company’s associates impacted by the store closings will receive a severance package, and will be provided with the opportunity to apply for positions at other area Sears and Kmart stores.  Lambert continued, “We are committed to treating these associates with respect and compassion during this process.”

The company expects the move to generate a “meaningful level of cash,” primarily from store inventory liquidation and from the sale or lease of some of the company’s real estate.  Earlier this month, Sears Holdings announced it had raised over $1.2 billion in debt financing to be used to meet its financial obligations, and they believe this will be an important step for restoring profitability to the company in 2016.

The company also plans to transform their stores to fit into the way their customers want to shop, according to Lampert.  “Through our continued investments in Integrated Retail, our stores are a critical component of our strategy as we provide our members with industry-leading innovations such as Meet with an Expert, In-Vehicle Pickup and Return and Exchange in Five,” he added.

A complete listing of the store closings can be found here.

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