Sears Holdings Corp has recently announced that it is closing another 78 locations, 10 Sears outlets and 68 Kmart stores, as it tries to revive profitability. These additional stores represent around 5 percent of the company's store base which is roughly about 1,700 stores.
The Hoffman Estates, IL-based retail giant announced in February that it will accelerate the closing of more unprofitable stores after a disappointing holiday season sales.
This announcement made on Thursday is designed to produce a considerable amount of cash from the sales of merchandise inventories and from the sublease sales of a number of the company's real estate assets.
The plan is for all Sears stores and almost all Kmart stores to close in late July. Later on in September, two more Kmart stores will be closed.
Sears Holdings Corp has long been enduring dwindling sales and it was not able to compete effectively with its biggest competitors which include Home Depot and Wal-Mart. Amazon.com, the giant online marketer, has also cut some slice out of Sears consumer market.
After a comprehensive review of the firm's store portfolio, the company decided to drastically reduce its number of stores to stop its financial bleeding. The extensive review examined the stores' performance as well as the timing of their lease expirations.
''The decision to close stores is a difficult but necessary step as we take aggressive actions to strengthen our company, fund our transformation and restore Sears Holdings to profitability,'' said Edward S. Lampert, chairman and CEO of the company in a statement.
''We're focusing on our best members, our best categories, and our best stores as we work to accelerate our transformation,'' he added.
In its heyday, the retail giant operated around 4,000 outlets. But due to weakening sales, it was forced to sell assets to raise money. Sears is now looking at member-focused business instead of its usual store marketing operations.