Here we go again.
Sears Holdings (SHLD) said on Thursday it was closing 103 more namesake and Kmart stores this year in the umpteenth round of store shutterings in the last two years. The retailer told employees in a note posted to its web site it was closing 64 Kmart locations and 39 Sears stores. The latest announcement comes only two months after Sears’ most recent store closing news, which followed a spate of such announcements earlier in 2017. The company has closed hundreds of locations in the last few years.
The retailer, whose comparable sales declines have worsened in recent quarters despite the elimination of so many weak stores, has said repeatedly it is trying to reinvent itself as a company less reliant on physical space. In its most recent quarter, Sears Holdings said comparable sales fell 17% at its namesake stores and 13% at Kmart. It was the 24th quarter of comparable sales declines in a row for the company.
“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,” the company said in a statement. The liquidation sales will start on January 12 and the stores are set to close between early March and early April.
The company has lost more than $10 billion in the last six years, putting enormous strain on its finances and prompting it to sell some of its best assets in recent years and look for new sources of revenue such as its recent moves to sell its Kenmore appliances and DieHard batteries on Amazon.com.
While Sears CEO Eddie Lampert, the hedge fund manager who engineered the merger of Sears and Kmart in 2005, has lamented the difficult state of retail, his company has dramatically underperformed rivals like Macy’s (M) and J.C. Penney (JCP). Those chains reported sales growth for the key November and December period. (Sears does not provide an intra-holiday quarter update typically.)
Sears shares were down 4% on Thursday and are about 75% off 52-week highs.
For a list of the stores closing, please see Sears Holdings’ list.