Here we go again.
Sears Holdings (shld) on Friday announced a new round of store closings, this one involving 43 locations. The company framed the move as a strategic decision, one that will aid in its hoped-for return to profitability.
The retailer, which operates the Sears department stores and Kmart discount chain, has already announced 265 closings this fiscal year. The latest paring of the fleet will leave the company with 1,140 stores, barely more than half the number of stores it operated in 2012. In this latest round of shutterings, 35 Kmart stores and eight Sears stores will close. (See list below.)
That's likely not the last of it, either. In a blog post, company CEO Eddie Lampert said more closings are coming.
In May, Sears reported disastrous first quarter results, with comparable sales down 12.4% at Sears, and 11.2% at Kmart in the first quarter. The disappointing sales numbers weren't new -- Sears lost about $10 billion in the last six years -- but there are signs the retailer is reaching a crisis point. Earlier this year, the company implemented a $1.25 billion cost-cutting plan, and acknowledged fears it could very well go bankrupt.
"We have fought hard for many years to return unprofitable stores to a competitive position and to preserve jobs," Lampert wrote in the blog post. "As a result, we had to absorb corresponding losses in the process. So, it is obvious that we don't make decisions to close stores lightly."
Lampert, a hedge fund manager who engineered the merger of Kmart and Sears in 2004, has long touted his work to reposition the company in response to large-scale shifts in the retail industry. (In his estimation, this means less physical space, as customers now expect more focused, edited assortments, and a focus on membership-based shopping.)
In recent years, Sears' has moved to protect its cash pile by spinning off its best properties into a real estate investment trust, as well as subleasing and leasing store space. The rationale is that smaller, focused stores are more relevant to today's shoppers. Sears recently opened a small store in Texas focused on mattresses and appliances, part of a new format the company is testing.
It's questionable that an additional 43 stores and experimenting with new store formats will be enough to move the needle for a retailer with 1,000 locations. Indeed, Sears has closed hundreds of weak stores in the last few years, yet comparable sales - a metric that strips out the impact of newly closed or open stores- have continued to relentlessly fall.
Here are the stores involved in the latest round of closures:
- 104 Highway 31 North Athens AL
- 635 Skyland Blvd Tuscaloosa AL
- 3340 E Andy Devine Ave Kingman AZ
- 2526 W Northern Avenue Phoenix AZ
- 4325 Broadway Eureka CA
- 7200 Arlington Avenue Riverside CA
- 12412 U S 19 Hudson FL
- 4717 South Florida Avenue Lakeland FL
- 20505 South Dixie Hwy Miami FL
- 8245 N Florida Ave Tampa FL
- 2500 Airport Thruway Columbus GA
- 1300 S Madison Avenue Douglas GA
- W-201 Neider Road Coeur D'Alene ID
- 2828 N Broadway Anderson IN
- 2520 Nicholasville Road Lexington KY
- 2760 Frederica Street Owensboro KY
- 140 Whalon Street Fitchburg MA
- 1277 Liberty Street Springfield MA
- 801 N Lincoln Road Escanaba MI
- 1290 N Monroe Street Monroe MI
- 1515 W Bell Street Glendive MT
- 1000 3Rd Street Nw Great Falls MT
- 2975 E Sahara Blvd Las Vegas NV
- 200 S Washington St Herkimer NY
- 601 Woodman Dr Dayton OH
- 12501 Rockside Rd Garfield Heights OH
- 1801 W Alexis Road Toledo OH
- 501 S E Washington Blvd Bartlesville OK
- 2323-2327 N Harrison Shawnee OK
- 4401 Buffalo Road Erie PA
- 2011 Hoffmeyer Road Florence SC
- 732 Old Hickory Blvd Jackson TN
- 4670 S 900 East Salt Lake City UT
- 3533 Franklin Road S W Roanoke VA
- 2450 Foothill Blvd Rock Springs WY
- 1607 36Th Street Peru IL
- 757 E Lewis & Clark Pkwy Clarksville IN
- 154 28B W Hively Ave Elkhart IN
- 120 Us Highway 41 Schererville IN
- 2310 E Kansas Ave Garden City KS
- 6945 Us Route 322 Cranberry PA
- 3060 Clarksville Street Paris TX
- 7630 Pershing Blvd Kenosha WI