Sears Holdings, parent company of Sears and Kmart, told its employees Thursday that it will be closing more than 100 additional stores this year, according to a report from CNBC. The store closings consist of 64 Kmart stores and 39 Sears stores, all of which are expected to shut their doors between early March and April. The struggling department store operator had already announced plans to close 63 stores by late January. As of Oct. 28, it had 594 Sears stores and 510 Kmarts in the U.S., 399 fewer stores overall than a year prior. Liquidation sales at the closing stores will begin as soon as Jan. 12, Sears said. The company declined to say how many employees would be affected by the closures, but most of the jobs are part-time positions and eligible workers will receive severance, spokesman Larry Costello said in the statement.
Total Retail's Take: Sears’ latest store closures follow a year of cost-cutting and two deals announced last month that would give it more financial flexibility in 2018. The company paid down $325 million on a loan originally due midway through this year and won an extension on the remaining $400 million, but said it still has $752 million remaining due in 2018. Sears also inked an agreement allowing it to sell up to 138 properties to help finance a $407 million contribution to its pension plans. None of the closures announced Thursday are tied to the pension deal, Costello said. Sears wasn’t the only department store to announce closings Thursday. Macy’s said it planned to close 11 stores in early 2018, including seven that were not part of a batch of 100 closures it announced in 2017. Most retailers have yet to report full fourth-quarter results, but Macy’s said sales at stores open at least a year were up 1 percent in November and December compared with the prior year. Sears has yet to provide an update on sales during retail’s crucial holiday shopping period.