Sears Holdings is selling 16 of its namesake store locations in an online auction, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The stores, 15 of which are attached to malls, are being marketed as sale and lease-back deals, which will allow Sears to continue operations at the locations while paying rent. The new owners of some locations will be permitted to alter part of the properties for other purposes, such as self-storage, hotel or residential space. The 16 Sears store locations available for sale are located in Texas, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. Cushman & Wakefield, a real estate services firm, will conduct the auction through Real Insight Marketplace, an online platform. The sales process began in February, and bids are due by May 1. About 200 investor groups have expressed interest in purchasing the store locations.
Total Retail's Take: The sale of 16 stores is part of Sears’ plan to offload assets in hopes of raising liquidity and getting back to profitability. At the beginning of the year, Sears said it planned to close more than 100 stores by April. Most recently, the company said it raised enough money to pay $407 million toward its pension plan to allow for the sale of 140 other properties. Sears hasn't yet said when those sales will take place. What's more, in its latest quarter, Sears’ revenue fell nearly 28 percent, and same-store sales were down more than 15 percent. The company hopes to lure shoppers back with its large selection of mattresses and appliances, and a growing loyalty platform that includes partners Uber, GasBuddy and fuboTV.