Sears gets $150M from joint venture with Macerich, its third real estate deal in April

MarketsAssociated Press

Sears Holdings announced its third real estate deal of the month on Thursday, saying it received $150 million after starting a joint venture with mall operator Macerich.

Sears is contributing nine stores in malls operated by Macerich. Sears will lease the real estate from the joint venture. The companies will own the joint venture on a 50-50 basis.

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The Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based company, which also operates Kmart stores, is trying to extract value from its real estate holdings and replenish its cash as it tries to turn around its long-suffering business. This month it announced deals with General Growth Properties Inc. and Simon Property Group Inc., and Sears said it received $279 million after turning 22 properties over to new joint ventures with those companies.

Sears Holdings Corp. is also planning to sell about 254 properties, most of them Sears and Kmart stores, to a real estate investment trust that it recently created called Seritage Growth Properties. The company expects more than $2.5 billion in proceeds from the sale. It closed more than 200 Sears and Kmart stores in 2014.

Sears and Kmart have struggled for years with sales declines and lack of investment in its stores. Sears Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert has said the company is trying to transform itself from a traditional retailer into a membership-focuses business online and in stores centered on its Shop Your Way loyalty program.

In the last few years the company also spun off its Lands' End, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. and Orchard Supply Hardware Stores businesses to raise cash. Orchard Supply filed for bankruptcy protection about a year after it was spun off and was acquired by home improvement retailer Lowe's Cos. in 2013.

Shares of Sears rose 33 cents to $39.42 in morning trading. Shares of Macerich Co., which is based in Santa Monica, California, fell 25 cents to $81.47.