A customer enters a Sears Holdings Corp. store in San Bruno, California, U.S., on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
As the holiday season approaches, the parent company of Sears and Kmart has secured a $250 million lifeline and announced plans on Thursday to shut 96 more stores.
That will leave the business with 182 locations. The financing came from lenders that include owner Eddie Lampert.
Transformco added it is taking the steps to focus on its “competitive strengths.” But it faces “a difficult retail environment and other challenges.”
When Lampert bought Sears out of bankruptcy court for $5.2 billion earlier this year, he acquired 425 Sears and Kmart locations. He argued at the time that his offer was the best option to keep stores open and save thousands of jobs.
The announced closures and needed financing show that the Sears brand continues to struggle to win back shoppers, despite Sears Holdings filing for bankruptcy and restructuring. Sears was once one of the biggest retailers in America. But Sears’ last profitable year was 2010.
Transformco said going-out-of-business sales are set to begin on Dec. 2. The 96 stores will shutter by February.
“We will continue to evaluate our Sears and Kmart footprint, consistent with our overall retail and service strategy,” the company said.
Transformco added it still expects “to realize a significant return on our extensive portfolio of owned and leased real estate,” which includes logistics business Innovel, Sears Home Services, the Shop Your Way membership program, Kenmore and DieHard.
It was reported last month that Sears was exploring potential asset sales, including of its DieHard brand.
A representative from the company didn’t respond to a request for comment on the potential divestitures.
The company also recently closed on a deal to buy Sears Hometown and roughly 414 of those shops. Following the latest announced closures, the combined retailer will have about 600 locations nationwide.