(Bloomberg News) Sears Holdings Corp., the retailer controlled by hedge-fund manager Edward Lampert, will close as many as 120 Kmart and Sears Full-line stores after sales of consumer electronics declined in the holiday shopping period.
The closures will generate $140 million to $170 million of cash from sales of inventory and the leasing or sales of the locations, the Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based company said today in a statement. Sears will record total non-cash charges of as much as $2.4 billion in the fourth quarter related to a valuation allowance and goodwill impairment.
Lampert, who along with his hedge fund owns 60 percent of Sears, has presided over 18 consecutive quarters of declining sales. Before today's announcement, Sears had closed 171 of its large U.S. stores since merging with Kmart in 2005. To revive growth, Lampert has been leasing space to other retailers, accelerating franchising and turning to smaller store formats.
"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," Chief Executive Officer Lou D'Ambrosio said in the statement.
Sears fell 13 percent to $39.85 at 8:51 a.m. in New York. The shares had declined 38 percent this year before today.
Sears has more than 4,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Total same-store sales fell 5.2 percent in the eight weeks ended Dec. 25, according to the statement. Comparable sales at Sears namesake locations dropped 6 percent, driven by declines in consumer electronics and home appliance categories. Sales at Kmart fell 4.4 percent.
As a result, earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization in the fourth quarter will be less than half of last year's $933 million.
The company also expects to reduce 2012 peak domestic inventory by $300 million, according to the statement. Sears is scheduled to report fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 23.