Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Sears Plans to Close Almost 80 Stores in Bid for Profitability

  • Move will shutter about 5 percent of company's locations
  • Sears posted a $580 million loss in last reported quarter

Sears Holdings Corp., the struggling retailer run by hedge fund investor Eddie Lampert, will shut almost 80 stores as part of a push to make the company profitable again.

The closings will include 68 Kmarts and 10 Sears stores, the Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based company said in a statement Thursday. Most of the stores will be shuttered in late July, with two Kmarts closing in mid-September. The move will eliminate about 5 percent of the company’s locations.

Sears posted a $580 million loss in its most recently reported quarter, a wider deficit than a year earlier, as sales continue to slide. The once-mighty retailer said in February that it would be paring money-losing stores and embarked on a review of its portfolio. The timing of leases also factored into the decision over which locations to close.

“We’re focusing on our best members, our best categories and our best stores as we work to accelerate our transformation,” Lampert, who serves as Sears’s chief executive officer, said in the statement.

As part of Lampert’s comeback plan, the executive has sold and spun off assets, including some of its best real estate. He’s also invested heavily in Sears’s online and rewards programs. Still, investors have remained skeptical of the turnaround bid. The stock has lost more than half its value over the past 12 months.

Sears operates almost 1,700 stores in the U.S., according to a filing last month. The locations targeted for closing include Kmarts in Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Rochester, New York.

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