Sears Holdings Plans to Close up to 120 Kmart, Sears Stores

By George Ford, Reporter

CHICAGO, Illinois - Sears Holdings Corp., corporate parent of Kmart and Sears, on Tuesday announced plans to close up to 120 stores in the United States as it seeks to slash operating costs.

Chicago-based Sears Holdings said no final decisions have been made regarding which stores will close. It plans to post the store closings on ttp://www.searsmedia.com click here when a final list is compiled.

Shares of Sears Holdings Corp. were battered in trading on news of the company's holiday sales weakness. The company's shares fell $12.47 or 27.2 percent to close at 33.38 on Tuesday.

Kmart operates stores in Cedar Rapids at 180 Collins Rd. NE (built in 1970) and 2727 16th Ave. SW (constructed in 1969). Kmart also has a store at 851 Highway 6 E. in Iowa City (built in 1969).

Kmart also operates stores in Algona, Ames, Burlington, Carroll, Charles City, Cherokee, Clive, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Marshalltown, Mason City, Oelwein, Ottumwa, Red Oak, Sioux City, Urbandale, Waterloo and Webster City.

The Sears store in Cedar Rapids' Lindale Mall, 4600 First Ave. NE, was constructed in 1960 and the Sears store in Coral Ridge Mall at 1491 Coral Ridge Ave. in Coralville was built in 1997. Sears also operates stores in Sears has stores in Ames, Clinton, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Fairfield. Fort Dodge, Mason City, Sioux City, Storm Lake and Waterloo

Sears Holdings, which reported comparable store sales declines of 5.2 percent for the fourth quarter and 2.6 percent year-to-date, said the store closings are expected to generate $140 million to $170 million of cash as the inventory in the stores is sold. The retailer expects to take a non-cash charge of $1.6 billion to $2.4 billion in the fourth quarter.

Sears Holdings said the decline in Sears quarterly sales was primarily driven by consumer electronics and home appliances, with more than half of the decline occurring in consumer electronics.

"Given our performance and the difficult economic environment, especially for big-ticket items, we intend to implement a series of actions to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model," said Lou D'Ambrosio, chief executive officer of Sears Holdings in a statement announcing the planned store closings.

While the company has kept under performing stores open in the past while it attempted to turn them around, D'Ambrosio said that is no longer the "appropriate action" in the current competitive retail environment.

"We will carefully evaluate store performance going forward and act opportunistically to recognize value from poor performing stores as circumstances allow," D'Ambrosio said.
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