Sears Holdings announced it will increase the number of unprofitable stores that it will close following a “challenging” holiday selling season late last year.
Sears said last week its fourth-quarter sales in stores open at least one year fell 6.9 percent. The comparable decline in store sales in the company’s Kmart subsidiary was 7.2 percent.
Sears had planned to close 50 stores this year, most of them in March and April, according to a Sears spokesman. The majority of those stores are Kmart locations with expiring leases that Sears will not renew.
But the company said last week without elaboration that additional unprofitable stores also will be closed.
There are 153 Sears stores in Florida, according to the company’s website.
Sears also said it will try to raise at least $300 million by selling other unidentified assets during the first half of the year. Sears has been considering a sale of a portion or all of its Sears Auto Center business.
According to Pam Goodfellow, an analyst with Prosper Insights & Analytics, Sears’ appliance business remains strong but sales of other types of merchandise have been disappointing.
A Prosper Analytics survey of about 7,000 shoppers over age 18 found that those who most often go to a Sears store to buy clothing, shoes and electronics has fallen 40 percent in each category of merchandise during the last 10 years. [Sun-Sentinel] – Mike Seemuth