Sears Holdings to close more USA stores, including 28 Kmart locations

A closed Kmart store

A closed Kmart store

The Blue Light Special is dimming a little further, as Sears Holdings Corp. announced Thursday that it will close 28 Kmart stores, including one in Bellflower.

The company dropped that news, its first list of store closings in a month and a half, while claiming that more store closures are all part of an ongoing "transformation" into a 21st-century retailer.

The move will affect a number of Kmart's stores as these will shutter their doors in mid-Novembers. Two other stores in Southeastern Massachusetts - in Brockton and Hyannis - are remaining open for now.

The 28 are in addition to 330 Sears or Kmart locations the retailer has closed or plans to close later this year as Sears Holdings tries to regain profitability.

Sears Holdings, which owns a minority stake in the Canadian company, said Thursday that it has used about US$605 million of its $1.5 billion revolving credit facility due in 2020. Sears' comparable store sales declined 13.2%, with a 12.1% decline excluding the consumer electronics category.

Net loss attributable to Sears narrowed to $251 million, or $2.34 a share, from $395 million, or $3.70, from the same period a year ago.

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Sears posted a $1.16 per share adjusted loss, compared to a Wall Street forecast of a $2.42 per share adjusted loss. S&P Global Market Intelligence analysts had estimated a same-store sales decline of 7.1%.

"The retail environment remained challenging, with continued softness in store traffic and elevated price competition", Sears said.

Among the K Marts being closed is a location in Topeka, on Wanamaker Road. "The comprehensive restructuring of our operations is delivering cost efficiencies and helping drive improvements to our operating performance".

The company also said it had signed a deal with MetLife to reduce its pension liabilities. The chain of department stores has trimmed its portfolio of real estate, cut costs and seeks more liquidity.

Earlier this year, the company sold its signature Craftsman brand for more than $900 million.

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