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72 More Sears Stores To Go Into Dustbin Of Retail History

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After a poor first quarter, Sears Holdings is planning to close 72 more stores, out of 100 non-profitable stores that the company said it has identified. The move comes in the wake of a string of recent closures, including about 400 locations in the last 12 months.

Sears

At the moment, Sears and Kmart have 570 and 430 stores, respectively. 

Shuttered Sears stores are of particular interest to redevelopment efforts that put apartments and hotels in their place, or in some cases, fitness- and health-focused businesses.

Last quarter Sears Holdings reported a net loss of $424M ($3.93/share), which compares to a gain of $245M ($2.29/share) during the first quarter of 2017. Total sales dropped 34% year over year to $2.2B, and total revenue, including income from appliance and product-repair services, was down 31% to $2.89B, partly because of store closures over the year. The last time the retailer's sales increased compared with the previous year was in Q3 2011.

Sears is looking to turn things around, Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert said in a statement. Its strategies will include "exploring third-party partnerships involving several of our businesses — such as Sears Home Services, Innovel, Kenmore and DieHard — and gaining further momentum around our new smaller store formats that blend brick-and-mortar and online experiences." 

Sears is already collaborating with Amazon in a small way, to provide tire installation and balancing service for customers who buy tires on Amazon.com. 

According to the company, that makes Sears Auto the first nationwide auto service center to offer Amazon.com customers the option to ship their tires to Sears locations for installation. Also, DieHard all-season passenger tires will now be sold on Amazon.com.

Sears is mulling the sale of its Kenmore appliance brand and related assets, the Sears Home Improvement Products business and its Parts Direct business. In April, Lampert proposed that his hedge fund purchase the brand and the other assets because the company hasn't been able to find a buyer for them.

UPDATE: On Thursday, Sears Holdings posted a list of 63 stores that the company plans to close in early September: 15 Kmart stores  and 48 Sears locations, with liquidation sales beginning in June.

The company also said that nine other stores were pulled from the previously announced closing total of 72 for re-evaluation. Their fate will be determined later.

The closures are nationwide. Among the Sears closures, the states with the most are Illinois, Michigan and Texas, with four stores each. A complete list is here.