Sears Holdings Corp (Nasdaq: SHLD) is closing another 103 stores in an effort to keep its business alive in an increasingly difficult environment for department store retailers. The store closings are part of Sears’ multi-year cost-cutting efforts, but the company’s core business continues to deteriorate.
In a statement, Sears says it will close 64 Kmart stores and 39 Sears stores by April.
“We will continue to close some unprofitable stores as we transform our business model so that our physical store footprint and our digital capabilities match the needs and preferences of our members,” the company says.
While Sears’ aggressive downsizing efforts produced a slightly better-than-expected earnings loss in the most recent quarter, same-store sales continue to tumble by double-digit percentages. Same-store sales dropped 15.3 percent in the third quarter of 2017 after falling 11.5 percent in the second quarter.
The latest closings come after Sears opted to shutter 358 stores in 2017.
Sears isn’t the only U.S. retailer that is shrinking in the face of online competition from Amazon.com (AMZN) and others. Earlier on Thursday, Macy’s (M) announced it would close another 11 stores as part of its plan to eliminate nearly 100 stores over the next several years. There were a total of 6,985 U.S. retail store closures in 2017, up more than 200 percent from 2016, according to Fung Global Retail & Technology.
“Store closures are a major theme in U.S. retail, as many overspaced retailers are reacting to the migration of sales online by closing physical locations,” Fung managing director Deborah Weinswig says, according to CNBC.
At least one struggling retailer is hoping Sears’ pain can be its gain. In an interview with Fortune on Thursday, J.C. Penney Co. (JCP), CEO Marvin Ellison said Penney is pushing hard to pick up Sears’ lost market share.
“We’re going after Sears and we’re going after market share that we think is going to be available not only now but as they continue to contract,” Ellison said.
As for Sears, ballooning debt and a shrinking footprint has created a narrow and rapidly closing window of opportunity for an unlikely turnaround.
“I don’t see how Sears pulls out of the tailspin,” CNBC analyst Jim Cramer recently said of the stock. “It’s…
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