Report: Sears and Kmart to Close at Least 121 Stores by January 2020

October 15, 2019 Updated: October 16, 2019

Sears is slated to close at least 121 Sears and Kmart stores by January of 2020 across the United States, it was reported.

Business Insider compiled a list of the stores that are closing, saying the report was compiled based on company filings and statements to local media outlets.

The news outlet said that employees at several stores confirmed the Sears is closing down.

Following the latest round of closures, there could be fewer than 300 Kmart and Sears locations around the country.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, reported that about a fourth of the 425 Sears and Kmart stores that were brought out of bankruptcy by financier Edward Lampert have closed or are set to close. The Journal cited sources close to the situation.

In announcing closures in August, Sears said more closings are a possibility.

A dismantled sign sits leaning outside a Sears department store one day after it closed as part of multiple store closures by Sears Holdings Corp in Nanuet, New York, on Jan. 7, 2019. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

“Following these steps, we will continue to evaluate our network of Sears and Kmart stores and cannot rule out additional store closures in the near term,” the company said at the time, USA Today reported. “Our goal remains to return the company to profitability and preserve as many jobs as possible in the communities we serve.”

Lampert bought 223 Sears stores and 202 Kmart locations in February, along with the Kenmore and DieHard brands for about $5.2 billion under an entity known as Transform Holdco LLC or Transformco.

The WSJ noted that the firm is still struggling after it was bought out of bankruptcy.

The firm hasn’t commented on the two reports, but it issued a statement to CNN on Tuesday.
“Our new real estate term loan provides us with a far more cost effective and flexible capital structure that will allow us to continue to invest in the growth of Sears, Kmart, our leading service offerings and the Shop Your Way rewards program,” said a statement from the hedge fund that owns Sears. “Our ability to secure financing on these terms demonstrates the confidence of our financial partners and helps position us for future success.”

A Kmart store in a file photo. (AFP/Getty Images)

At the time it came out of bankruptcy, more than 400 Kmart and Sears stores existed, which was down from about 1,000 in 2018.

Lampert, Sears’s majority owner, gave up his CEO title during the bankruptcy filing.

Other Bankruptcies

Several U.S. retailers have filed for bankruptcy over the past two years, including Forever 21 and Toys ‘R’ Us.

Forever 21

The fast-fashion retailer filed late on Sunday to restructure its business and requested approval to close up to 178 U.S. stores. Forever 21 listed both assets and liabilities in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion, according to the court filing.

Payless Shoes

The U.S. discount retailer in February filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time, along with its North American subsidiaries. The retailer had said it would close about 2,500 stores in North America and wind down its e-commerce operations.

Toys ‘R’ Us

The toy retailer filed for Chapter 11 in September, hoping to restructure some $5 billion in debt, much of which stemmed from a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout by private equity firms in 2005. It liquidated in 2018, a blow to hundreds of toy makers that sold products to the chain, including Barbie maker Mattel Inc and rival Hasbro Inc.

Radio Shack

The U.S. electronics chain filed for bankruptcy in March for the second time in a little over two years, faced with a challenging retail environment and an unsatisfying partnership with wireless provider Sprint Corp.

Fred’s Inc.

In September, the pharmacy and discount retailer said it filed for Chapter 11, months after the company began shuttering hundreds of unprofitable stores in the United States.

Gymboree

The children’s clothing retailer filed for bankruptcy protection in January, the second in almost two years, and said it would close more than 800 Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores.

HhGregg

The appliances and electronics retailer and its Gregg Appliances Inc unit filed for bankruptcy protection in March, as they continue struggling with declining sales for about the past four years.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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