Sears Holdings Considers REIT to Raise Cash

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Struggling retailer Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD) said it was exploring the conversion of 200-300 stores to a real estate investment trust (REIT) and offer it to shareholders through a rights offering to raise cash.

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The company was looking to monetize a portion of its real estate through a sale-leaseback transaction, it said in a regulatory filing.

Sears has been trying to raise cash to get it through the build-up to the year-end shopping season and it has repeatedly turned to Chief Executive Eddie Lampert and his hedge fund, which together own 48.5 percent of Sears.

The company has been closing stores, slashing inventory and selling off assets to generate cash after a decade of falling sales and dwindling margins. It has booked losses for nine straight quarters.

Sears said on Friday it sold a full-line store in Cupertino, California for $102.5 million in October. Sears full-line stores are mall-based locations averaging 136,000 square feet.

The company said it raised about $300 million from selling a part of its stake in Sears Canada <SCC.TO> through a rights offering, as of Nov. 6. It had planned to raise up to $380 million.

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The company said it would not add results of Sears Canada from the third quarter.

Sears estimated flat comparable sales and an adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of $275 million to $325 million in the quarter ended Nov. 1.

The company will report results on Dec. 4.

As of Nov. 1, the company had about $330 million in cash and $234 million under its credit facility.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)