Sears to close more stores amid retail industry tumult

By Retail FOXBusiness

Struggling department-store retailer Sears on Friday said it will shutter another 20 stores – including 18 Sears stores and two Kmart locations – by mid-September, as it continues to respond to an industry-wide shift in consumer shopping habits that’s hitting traditional retailers particularly hard.

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The move puts Sears' total store-closure count so far this year at more than 260, leaving it with 1,100 locations, USA Today reported. In a statement, the company said it understands customers may be disappointed when stores close, but encouraged them to look to the Shop Your Way membership platform as well as website and mobile apps. The liquidation process for the newly-announced closures is set to begin  by the end of the month.

The Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based company said earlier this month its restructuring efforts – which include store consolidation, a reduction in head count, and the recent sale of its Craftsman brand – have resulted in about $1 billion in annualized cost savings and allowed Sears to pay down roughly $418 million in outstanding loans.

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The company expects to achieve $1.25 billion in savings by the end of the year.  

Sears’ increased focus on returning to profitability comes after a March filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in which the company said “substantial doubt exists” about its ability to survive. CEO Eddie Lampert has vowed to “fight like hell” in what he calls one of the most challenging periods for brick-and-mortar retailers.

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