Sears to close more stores, sales continue fall in 2Q


Struggling Sears Holdings Corp. reported a quarterly loss on Thursday as fewer customers visited its stores and as the company offered more discounts amid intense industry competition. The retailer also said it would close 28 Kmart stores, in addition to the 150 Sears and Kmart stores it plans to close by the end of its third quarter. The list of store closings includes a location in Belleville, one of four in the St. Louis area. Liquidation sales at those stores will begin as early as Aug. 31, the company said.

Total revenue fell 22 percent to $4.37 billion, mainly due to store closures, which shaved off $770 million of revenue, the company said.

Once the largest U.S. retailer, Sears has struggled with years of losses and declining sales as shoppers shift from the mall to the web. In February, the company said it would cut at least $1 billion in costs this year, mainly by monetizing its real estate.

Sears, controlled by billionaire investor Eddie Lampert, said it earned $460 million in cash from real estate deals in the second quarter.

Net loss attributable to Sears narrowed to $251 million, or $2.34 per share in the second quarter ended July 29, from $395 million or $3.70 per share, a year earlier.

The company also said it had signed a deal with MetLife to reduce its pension liabilities.

The agreement will annuitize an additional $512 million of Sears’ pension liabilities, with MetLife paying future pension benefits to about 20,000 retirees.