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Retail Apocalypse: Sears Closing 46 More Unprofitable Stores

By  Paul Bois

After previously closing 100 unprofitable stores back in May, Sears has announced it will be closing 46 more unprofitable stores come November.

USA Today reports that the closings include 33 Sears locations along with 13 Kmart locations. Liquidation sales will kick off as early as next week.

“We continue to evaluate our network of stores, which is a critical component to our integrated retail transformation, and will make further adjustments as needed,” Sears said in a statement.“We thank associates affected by these store closures for their many contributions to our company. Eligible associates will receive severance and will have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Kmart or Sears stores.”

According to Newsmax, Sears has experimented with new concepts to diversify their dying brand, such as “standalone mattress stores and combined Sears and Kmart locations.” The company also sold its Craftsman tool brand to Stanley Black & Decker Inc. and partnered with Amazon to sell Kenmore and DieHard products online. The efforts have mostly failed. More from Newsmax:

For years, Chief Executive Officer Edward Lampert has used his own money to keep Sears afloat amid declines in store traffic and sales. The company has already closed hundreds of stores and shaved more than $1 billion from annual expenses.

Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc., said in April it would be open to buying some of the company’s assets and urged the department store to put the businesses on the block. ESL submitted a bid for the store’s Kenmore and Sears Home Improvement businesses at a valuation of around $470 million, according to a regulatory filing last week.

The Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based retailer’s shares have lost value in each of the last four years. So far in 2018, the stock has declined 67 percent. Sears shares (SHLD) have fallen more than 85 percent over the past 12 months, bringing the company’s market cap to $127.8 million, or less than Lampert is willing to pay for the Kenmore brand alone, CNBC explained. The stock hit an all-time intraday low of $1.15 earlier this week, CNBC said.

The mall apocalypse, called the “retail apocalypse” in some places, has been surging at a faster rate on an annual basis since 2014. According to Fast Company, large malls have seen an expanding vacancy rate by 8.3% in the first quarter of 2018, which is at its “highest since the fourth quarter of 2012.”

“Reis Inc, a real estate data firm that studies 77 metropolitan areas, says 41 of those areas experienced an increase in vacancy during the 12 months ending on March 31,” reports the outlet. “Part of this slump has to do with the fact that customers can easily buy products online, instead of dragging themselves to malls, many of which haven’t been updated in years.”​

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