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Sears has been struggling for years now. Now the retail company has revealed that it will close 96 stores in the U.S. by February. A dozen of those stores are in the SoCal area. Long before Amazon, Sears was the major retailer back in the day with thousands of retail stores nationwide and a popular Sears catalog.
The retailer continues to struggle as it’s trying to fight its ongoing struggles. On Thursday, Nov. 7, Sears owner Transformco announced that has it acquired new capital that could help the company revamp itself shortly after obtaining all of Sears Holding Company’s assets during a bankruptcy proceeding earlier this year. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out in the company’s favor as it plans to close 96 of its Sears stores and Kmart stores in 30 states by February 2020.
The company will only have 182 brick-and-mortar stores, down from 700 stores when it filed for bankruptcy in October 2018. Transformco says it will continue to focus on its Kmart and Sears business strategy and ensures that it follows its overall “retail and service strategy.” Earlier this year, the company accounted that it planned to close 90 Kmart and Sears retail stores. This recent news includes a dozen Kmart and Sears retail stores in Southern California alone. The new closings will include 28 stores in California, ranging from Los Angeles to San Jose, and 8 stores in Puerto Rico.
Most of the retail stores that are shutting its doors will have going out of business sales on Dec. 2. This could be good news for customers who are looking for deals around the busy holiday shopping season. The company revealed on Thursday that employees will be offered the same severance pay that was offered to all employees during the bankruptcy filing.
Both Kmart and Sears have been on a slow decline over the years. The company had a terrible time keeping up with online giant Amazon. Other retail giants have had more success with embracing online shopping and adapting the new technology, like Walmart. The company tried to introduce Sears Hometown, which was a group of intimate stores that offered appliances, home goods, sporting goods, and tools. Sears hoped that this new business venture would lead to future success, but nothing came out of it.
Transformco said in its statement that it hopes to receive a “significant return” on their expanded portfolio of “owned and leased real estate.” But the statement didn’t reveal what the company intends to do with these businesses. The latest crop of closures are in addition to the over 100 stores that The Wall Street Journal previously reported were closing by the end of the year. That doesn’t even include the 26 stores that closed earlier this season.
This latest closure is just the latest setback for financier Eddie Lampert, who was the owner of the retail stores for the past decade. Lampert was also responsible for getting the retailer bankruptcy protection last year. However, Sears Holding Corp. has suffered a series of losses over the years, even under Lampert’s guidance. It has also become one of the biggest retailers to suffer such major losses, including a chapter 11 bankruptcy that included $7 billion in assets.
Lampert is also the man behind Transformco, the entity that’s responsible for Sears Holding Co. Transformco is also responsible for the DieHard and Kenmore brands, including other retail assets. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Transformco was also interested in purchasing out the DieHard brand after the company was approached by other potential buyers. On Thursday, Transformco announced that it has since acquired $250 million in new finances from an anonymous investor including Lampert himself.
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