NEW YORK (AP) — Between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores will be closed, the retailer said Tuesday, after terrible holiday sales during what is the most crucial time of the year for retailers.

Sears has yet to determine which stores will be closed, but there has been a clear shift in where the retailer will devote its resources.

The company is moving away from its practice of propping up “marginally performing” stores in hopes of improving their performance.

Sears said it will now concentrate on cash-generating stores.

“Given our performance and the difficult economic environment, especially for big-ticket items, we intend to implement a series of actions to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” said CEO Louis D’Ambrosio.

“These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers.”

Sears would not discuss how many, if any, jobs would be cut.

Sears Holdings Corp., based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., said that the store closings will generate $140 to $170 million in cash from inventory sales.

The retailer anticipates additional proceeds from the sale or sublease of real estate holdings.

The company, which operates Kmart stores, Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Land’s End, has seen rival department stores like Macy’s Inc. and discounters like Target Corp. steal customers away.

But the economy put a sustained financial squeeze on its most loyal customers, those in the middle-income bracket.

The retailer had announced numerous closings this year, but this is the largest group of closings to date by far. Hoped for holiday sales did not materialize.

Same-store revenue fell 5.2 percent to date for the quarter at both Sears and Kmart, the company said Tuesday.

That includes the critical holiday shopping period, a time that most retailers depend on for a sales surge that will put them in the black.

Kmart’s 6 percent decline in revenue at stores open at least a year was blamed on diminished layaways and a drop in clothing and consumer electronics sales.

Sears’ cited lackluster consumer electronics and home appliance sales for its 4.4 percent drop off.

Sears’ clothing sales were flat, while sales of Lands’ End products at Sears stores rose mid-single digits.

Sears Holdings said that the declining sales, ongoing margin pressure and rising expenses pulled its adjusted earnings lower.

The company predicts fourth-quarter consolidated adjusted earnings will be less than half the prior-year period’s $933 million. It also anticipates a non-cash charge of $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion in the quarter for a valuation allowance on some deferred tax assets.

This figure is a key gauge of a retailer’s health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Sears Holdings said it also plans to lower its fixed costs by $100 million to $200 million and trim its 2012 peak domestic inventory by $300 million from 2011’s $10.2 billion at the third quarter’s end.

Sears Holdings has more than 4,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

Comments (20)
  1. DAVID SCOTT says:


  2. Ann says:

    i like seara for stoves and washer/dryers kitchen stuff.
    but ii have a Kmart in my home town i not big fan of the store
    it has bad Service and i cant fine anything that i looking the store

  3. FireGuyFrank says:

    I haven’t stepped inside a Sears or KMart in years. I gave up on them when Sears charged me for a permit to install a replacement dishwasher. I fought it for weeks, but not even WBZ’s I-Team seemed interested.

    The permit, of course, was never required by my town. Yet Sears collected the money in their scam. I had no other choice since I needed the dishwasher in time to complete a kitchen remodel.

    It’s a shame. My first job was at the Sears in Peabody. It’s a shame people have to lose their jobs, but they can put their blame on Sears’ poor business ethics.

    1. Craig B says:

      In mass a plumbing permit is required and in some towns an electrical permit is needed. You should be made at your town not Sears.

  4. Tim Wilson says:

    I shopped Sears yesterday for two majpor appliances. No one came up to help us make a buying decision. It took a while to find a sales associate and his attitude was very much like “if you want it, fine, if you don’t want it that’s ok too”. With that kind of sales attitude, it’s no wonder they are closing stores. The store was dimly lit and the merchandise was lackluster. Even with huge discounts, there was almost no one in the store. Don’t blame everything on the economy!

  5. ARNOII says:

    They have lost their customers due to badly made products and poor service. I bought a washer/dryer (Kenmore) brand four years ago and it is a piece of junk. I have to buy a new one. I paid over $1,000 for it. This is why they lost customers and will continue to do so.

  6. Italo says:

    As a Baby Boomer, it’s sad to hear if Sears will be closing many stores because I guess it was kind of always part of our years growing up to have a Sears to go to, particularly the one that’s been there forever as a flagship of the shopping center nearby in Saugus, Mass., that is now Square One Mall. Til this day, if I think of needing to buy paint, major house appliances, or car tires or batteries, I first get this instinctive urge to think of needing to go to Sears! Just a sign of the times. There are just so many retailers out there today, they can’t spread the wealth around as much anymore. I wonder if the Saugus Sears, there for at least 50 or more years, I would wager, will be one of them to go.

  7. Dave says:

    I just had to replace a Kenmore stove that was less than 9 years old. The circut board failed for the 2nd time in 3 years, just a couple of months after the expensive warranty they sold me expired. The failure caused the broiler to be stuck on, which could have burned my house down. There should have been a recall on this. Sears answer? A rebate of $65 towards the home repair visit and $300+ repair bill, or 10% off the cost to replace the stove, which came to $56 off an $800 stove. That’s what they call standing behind their product? Needless to say, didn’t buy Kenmore. Good riddance.

  8. Michelle Schlund says:

    If the Kmart stores were taken care of and cleaner I would shop there more often. Target has become our destination just for that simple fact! Clean, clean, clean!!!! The service at every Kmart I have been to in the last 10 years just simply sucks! Our local Sears has pretty good service. But as for buying clothes there…only clearance rack is what we can afford now…the prices are ridiculous!

  9. tssal says:

    I’m a baby boomer also and what is sad to see is the mismanagement of the Sears store. I have had all Sears appliances over the years fail far sooner than they should have. The last straw was a four year old refrigerator under warranty that went in June. They told me the earliest repair I could have would be in 10 days. It was a simple fix and I told them I’d find someone else. They replied that it would void my warranty which was useless anyway.

    I got rid of the fridge and now buy only through specialized appliance stores. There is an outstanding one in Framikngham. The initial cost may be slightly more but they stand behind the products and the products are better made. In the end it costs far less.

  10. tssal says:

    Also a few months ago I went to sears website to order two bath towels figuring they could not mess that up. They tried to charge $90.00 shipping for the two bath towels. No matter how much I tried to explain it cannot possibly cost $90.00 to ship two towels totaling $45.00 they insisted that was the shipping price.

    1. sick of it says:

      who would pay $45.00 for two towels anyway. you must have money to throw away. I have a bridge for sale if your interested … real cheap overlooks Chelsea .

      1. gramps says:

        tsal’s favorite movies, ‘Forest Gump & Pinocchio & Harvey’….


  11. Debbie says:

    Has anybody looked at the fact that people may be boycotting that store because of that trashy kardashing collection?

  12. Corby says:

    I haven’t shopped in Sears for quite some time, but my son saw some athletic equipment that he liked in the circular so we went to Sears last week at the Natick Mall. What a disappointment. The store is extremely disorganized and the service is just awful. It took me 15 minutes to find a sales clerk to help me. It took the clerk almost a half hour to come back and tell me that the item was out of stock and wouldn’t be in again until mid-March. I went over to Sports Authority and saw the same item/same price. Sales clerk was right there to help and actually recommended a piece of equipment that was better for his size and for less money. No wonder Sears business is hurting…. the stores look run down and the service is sub-par. In order to survive, they will have to realize that they can no longer be everything to everyone and find what it is they do best do it.

  13. pedro says:

    If you have a $ 5.24 amount monthly Payment, for a Sears Life Insurance Policy, like I do, and you are late by one day getting the payment in the mail to them. They will ding you 30 dollars late penalty fee for being 1 day late—no grace period. -WOW ! …it has happened to me 3 times. what a crock.

  14. Kimberly Seaver says:

    Sears has gone downhill for quite some time now. Our Kenmore stove is very poor quality, and I had a battle with them about returning a vacuum once. It’s not surprising they are failing…

    1. Marta Quilliam says:

      I can relate to this fully. We bought a $600 Steam Cleaner there, after a few months it didn’t work. We brought it back and they refused to replace it, instead said they would have to send it away for repair. After waiting a month to get it back, they NEVER repaired it, only more runaround. My husband faught with them to replace it, which they did. However having problems with it again and have only used it maybe three times! We No Longer Buy Anything in this Store. Their prices are ridiculous, even items on sale are more expensive than you can get for the same item anywhere else. Won’t Miss Sears at all!

  15. Workingwoman2012 says:

    Sears treats their employees as badly as they do their customers. They force us to push their credit cards and to get your emails so they can spam you to death then fire us if we can’t talk you into their high interest rate credit card. All this for minimum wage and the tactics they try to get us to use to push these cards are dirty and unethical so no,I’m not surprised that they are closing stores. I’m filling out applications ASAP.

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