Sears was hoping for a sales bounce this holiday season. Instead, it found a lump of coal in its stocking.
Most of the loss—$249 million—was tied to the ongoing bankruptcy, but the remainder was big enough to indicate Sears’ problems were getting worse, not better.
The loss came even as Sears shut down underperforming stores around the country and underscores the challenges the company will face, having narrowly avoided liquidation, thanks to a $5.2 billion offer from chairman Eddie Lampert.
The loss does not encompass the full holiday quarter, but sales are likely to be significantly lower. Sears reported $2 billion in sales for November and December, less than half what it reported for the first calendar quarter of 2018.
Lampert reportedly plans to keep the chain’s approximately remaining 400 stores open. Lampert is also buying the Kenmore and DieHard brands, Sears Auto Centers and Home Services business, as well as the company’s inventory. The move is expected to save as many as 50,000 jobs across the country.