Kmart to close 64 more stores across the U.S.

Kmart, the mass-merchandise retail chain struggling with listing sales, is going to close 64 stores across the U.S., a person familiar with the matter said Monday.

Liquidation sales will begin on Sept. 22, and the stores will close their doors in mid December, according to a person familiar with the closings who did not want to be named because they were not allowed to say so publicly.

It is the latest round of cuts by the retailer. Its parent company, Sears Holdings, said in April that it would close 68 Kmart stores this summer. Both Sears and Kmart have had a difficult time remaining profitable and competitive in a retail environment increasingly dominated by other mass market chains and e-commerce sites like Amazon.

The latest closures include 17 stores that were among 235 sold last year by Sears Holdings to Seritage. The deal included a provision that allowed Sears Holdings to lease those locations back from Seritage, but to have the option to vacate the lease if the store was losing money.

"As such, we have informed Seritage that we will soon be exiting 17 Kmart stores,'' says Sears Holdings spokesman Howard Riefs. "We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity, and will be accelerating the closing of unprofitable stores as we have previously announced.''

Kmart and Sears are hardly the only traditional brick-and-mortar retailers who are struggling. Macy's said last month that it would close 100 of its 675 full line locations because of dwindling profits. Sports Authority is shutting all of its 460 stores after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. And Walmart said in January that it was shuttering 269 locations across the globe.

Sears has been shedding real estate to come up with cash, but dwindling sales have still taken a toll.

In the second quarter that ended July 30, the company posted a loss of $395 million, compared to a $208 million profit in that same three month period a year before. Meanwhile, sales at Sears and Kmart stores open at least 12 months declined 5.2% during the period. Still, that was an improvement over the drop seen in the previous quarter. And total revenue dipped to $5.7 billion, from $6.2 billion during the second quarter of 2015.

Sears has been shedding real estate to come up with cash, but dwindling sales have still taken a toll. In the second quarter that ended July 30, the company posted a loss of $395 million vs. a $208 million profit in that same three-month period a year before. Meanwhile, sales at Sears and Kmart stores open at least 12 months declined 5.2%. Still, that was an improvement over the drop seen in the previous quarter. And total revenue dipped to $5.7 billion, from $6.2 billion during the second quarter of 2015.


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