Sears Holdings Corp. has been struggling to find a buyer for its Kenmore appliance brand and other business lines, but according to news from The Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive Edward Lampert’s hedge fund is interested in buying multiple units from the embattled retailer.
ESL Investments Inc. is interested in purchasing the company’s Parts Direct and home improvement businesses. The fund might be interested in the retailer’s Kenmore brand and is on board to submit a proposal for the unit. In addition, ESL said it could buy Sears’ real estate. If that were to happen, Sears could, in turn, lease the stores to keep them running. The goal is to provide cash to the struggling retailer and prevent a bankruptcy filing.
“In our view, pursuing these divestitures now will demonstrate the value of Sears’ portfolio of assets, will provide an important source of liquidity to Sears and could avoid any deterioration in the value of such assets,” Lampert wrote in a letter to the board.
Over the last several years, Sears has seen its sales tank and foot traffic evaporate. In January, the retailer announced that it raised another $100 million in financing and will be slashing $200 million in annualized costs through measures other than store closures. Stores will be closing, however, and Sears said that it plans to shutter 103 stores in 2018.
“Sears Holdings continues its strategic assessment of the productivity of our Kmart and Sears store base and will continue to right size our store footprint in number and size,” the company said in a statement in January. “In the process, as previously announced, we will continue to close some unprofitable stores as we transform our business model so that our physical store footprint and our digital capabilities match the needs and preferences of our members.”