Sears to lay off 400 employees amid cost cutting

By Retail FOXBusiness

This Thursday, March 23, 2017, photo, shows an empty entrance to a Sears retail store in north Dallas. Retailers’ first-quarter earnings reports are expected to show challenges that stores face as they struggle with shoppers’ accelerating shift ... online and increasing competition. It’s happening at a time when stores are shedding jobs at the fastest pace since 2009 and closures are expected to surpass the number during the Great Recession. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Sears Holdings (SHLD) said Tuesday it will cut 400 jobs as part of its plan to slash $1.25 billion in annual costs.

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The layoffs will occur in the struggling retailer’s corporate offices and support functions globally. Sears added that certain positions at its field operations and stores will be affected. Last week, Sears announced that it will close an additional 72 stores.

Sears, the owner of its namesake chain and Kmart, has closed hundreds of stores in recent years amid a sharp decline in sales. The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based retailer is also looking into potential deals for its Kenmore appliances and DieHard auto parts. Sears already reached a deal to sell Craftsman to Stanley Black & Decker (SWK).

CEO Edward Lampert, one of the company’s largest shareholders, recently criticized media reports that suggest Sears may collapse altogether, saying the department store is making progress.

“We don’t need more customers. We have all the customers we could possibly want,” Lampert said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in May.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Lampert said Sears is “focused on realigning our business model in an evolving and highly competitive retail environment.”

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“This requires us to optimize our store footprint and operate as a leaner and simpler organization,” he added.

Shares were unmoved in pre-market trading. Sears is down 24% year-to-date and 44% over the past 12 months.

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