With the start of 2017, Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) ramped up its efforts to raise cash as the beleaguered department store chain continues to struggle and lose money. The company announced on Thursday to sell its Craftsman tools brand to Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. (NYSE:SWK) for about $900 million. This is the third move in the last two weeks by Sears CEO Edward Lampert to drag the company out of its five-year long period of losses and sales decline. The company has lost about $8.2 billion over the past five years, while same-store sales fell by 13% in November and December, according to the latest figures. Edward Lampert is also the biggest stakeholder in the company through his hedge fund, ESL Investments, having over 57% of Sears stock. Earlier this week, the hedge fund manager also announced that his fund will lend Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) an additional $1 billion to give breathing room to the retail company. Sears said on Wednesday it received a $500 million loan secured by mortgages on 46 properties from ESL Investments affiliates. Last week, ELS gave $300 million secured letter of credit to Sears.
Sears Closing 150 Stores
On Thursday, Sears also announced that they will close 108 Kmart and 42 Sears stores (NASDAQ:SHLD) by April 2017. The company has closed, sold or spun-off over 2,000 stores. It is important to note that Kmart was acquired by Eddie Lampert when the company was in deep crisis and then merged it with Sears in 2004 in a $11.5 billion deal.
Eddie Lampert’s Confidence in Sears
Edward Lampert said in a statement on Thursday that going forward, Sears will focus on “Shop Your Way” membership platform and its Integrated Retail strategy to be a more innovating and “nimble” retailer to provide better convenience to its customers. Mr. Lampert said he is confident that these measures will lay a strong foundation for a long term growth.
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Sears sales have been dented by tough competition as more shoppers are now preferring to buy merchendise online or from competitors like Target and Walmart. The company is selling its real estate assets and taking cost-cutting measures but there is no permanent end to the crisis in sight. Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) shares have lost over 67% year-to-date.