Sears to Lay Off Hundreds of Corporate Employees After Announcing 96 Store Closings: Report

November 14, 2019 Updated: November 14, 2019

The company that owns Sears and Kmart will lay off hundreds of corporate employees, according to a report on Thursday, coming after the firm announced it would close 96 stores.

Transformco confirmed the layoffs to Business Insider the Sears layoffs after reports emerged.

“Since purchasing substantially all the assets of Sears Holdings Corporation in February 2019, Transformco has faced a difficult retail environment,” the statement said.

It added, “We have been working hard to position Transformco for success by focusing on our competitive strengths and pruning operations that have struggled due to increased competition and other factors. Unfortunately, this process resulted in a number of difficult but necessary decisions, including closing stores and making adjustments at our corporate headquarters and field positions to reflect our new structure. We regret the impact that this has on our associates and their families.”

An anonymous source told the website that at the Sears corporate office in San Francisco, about two dozen corporate workers were told they would lose their jobs. Workers at Sears’ headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, will also face layoffs.

“It was a group layoff,” a source from San Francisco said. “There was a heartfelt apology, but that was it. … It was very abrupt, very quick.”

About 300 workers in all will be laid off, the report stated.

Letters remain from a removed sign outside a Sears department store one day after it closed in Nanuet, N.Y. on Jan. 7, 2019. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

It is nothing new for the company, which has been struggling since it declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy months ago. In September, about 250 corporate employees were laid off.

It’s not clear if any Kmart employees will be laid off.

Earlier this month, Transformco confirmed 96 Kmart and Sears locations will be closed across the United States, representing about one-third of its stores.

Transformco, which brought the retailers out of bankruptcy earlier this year, will close down 51 Sears stores and 45 Kmart locations, Sears confirmed to the Chicago Tribune and USA Today on Nov. 7.

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A Kmart department store is seen in Springfield, Virginia, Oct. 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

The latest round of closures will leave the firm with 182 Sears and Kmarts. Over the past 15 years, Kmart and Sears closed 3,500 stores and cut about 250,000 jobs.

On Thursday, Transformco also said it has $250 million in new financing as it grapples with how to run its remaining stores.

Their previous parent firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October of last year before emerging from it in February 2019. Eddie Lampert, and his hedge fund ESL Investments, arranged a deal at the time to rescue the two chains.

“We have been working hard to position Transformco for success by focusing on our competitive strengths and pruning operations that have struggled due to increased competition and other factors,” Transformco said in announcing the closures.

“We will endeavor to create and deliver value through a strategic combination of our better-performing retail stores and our service businesses, brands and other assets, and expect to realize a significant return on our extensive portfolio of owned and leased real estate,” Transformco said.

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