Sears, Kmart to Close One-Third of Remaining Stores

Sears, Kmart to Close One-Third of Remaining Stores.

The company that owns Sears and Kmart plans to close more than one-third of its remaining large-format stores as the beleaguered chains continue their contraction less than a year after they survived bankruptcy.

Transformco, which acquired the retailers out of bankruptcy, is set to shutter 51 Sears stores and 45 Kmart locations in the latest round of closures.

The closings will leave the company with 182 stores remaining, compared with 864 at also-struggling rival J.C. Penney as of February.

Sears and Kmart have closed more than 3,500 stores and cut about 250,000 jobs over the last 15 years.

The company said Thursday that it lined up $250 million in fresh financing as a lifeline while it pursues a sustainable business.

The retailers have been ailing for years, battered by digital competition, the decline of foot traffic and a lack of innovation in stores.

Their previous parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2018 and emerged in February through a last-minute deal arranged by the company’s longtime chairman, CEO and investor, Eddie Lampert, and his hedge fund ESL Investments.

Transformco, legally known as Transform Holdco, said Thursday it “has faced a difficult retail environment and other challenges” since that the bankruptcy concluded.

The latest round of liquidation sales will begin Dec. 2 and wrap up by February.

The new closings do not affect the company’s recently acquired Sears Hometown stores, which specialize in home appliances, equipment and tools.

“We will endeavor to create and deliver value through a strategic combination of our better-performing retail stores and our service businesses, brands and other assets, and expect to realize a significant return on our extensive portfolio of owned and leased real estate,” Transformco said.

The company has also cut costs in recent weeks through corporate layoffs.


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