Months after Sears Holdings Corp. announced that it would shutter 72 more stores as a result of falling sales, the retailer has announced another round of store closures. Sears plans to close 46 more stores this fall in the U.S., CNBC reported.
“We continue to evaluate our network of stores, which is a critical component to our integrated retail transformation, and will make further adjustments as needed,” the retailer said in a statement that was reported by CNBC.
The company also plans to start liquidation sales at 33 Sears locations and 13 Kmart locations next week. Workers who are eligible will be able to receive severance and apply for positions at other stores. At the same time, however, Sears is experimenting with new brick-and-mortar retail concepts. Those include locations that combine the Sears and Kmart brands as well as stand-alone mattress stores.
Sears faces competition from Amazon, Walmart and other retailers. In the latest quarter, the company’s sales declined once again, in line with recent trends: Merchandise sales dropped more than 30 percent to $2.2 billion. The company has reported sales declines dating back to the third quarter of 2011. In addition, same-store sales declined by 13.4 percent. Store counts are down as well; the company has about 900 stores as of May 5. At the same time in 2017, the retailer had nearly 1,300 locations.
And the news also comes after ESL Investments said it was seeking to purchase Sears Holdings’ Kenmore brand, as well as the retailer’s home improvement unit. ESL Investments is a hedge fund controlled by the chief executive of Sears Holdings, Eddie Lampert. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), ESL Investments has been talking with partners that could be part of a deal. The hedge fund said that a purchase could happen based on “ESL’s receipt of equity financing from a potential partner on terms acceptable to it.”