Hoffman Estates, Ill. – Sears Holdings chairman/CEO Edward Lampert is lending the company $400 million for “general corporate purposes.”
The short-term loan is provided through Lampert’s privately held hedge fund, ESL Investments, and is secured by 25 of Sears’ own real estate holdings, according to an 8-K filing.
The loan follows a disastrous second quarter in which the venerable retailer lost $573 million and revenues fell nearly 10 percent. It also follows a credit downgrading last week by Fitch Ratings, which said Sears needs about $600 million to $700 million in liquidity to fund working capital needs for the upcoming holiday season, and may run out of cash after 2016.
Separately, the company said it has added more conveniences to its curbside pick-up service. In addition to retrieving online orders, customers can now also return and exchange items from specially designated parking spots outside Sears stores without leaving their cars.
The services are provided by sales associates and are “guaranteed” to be completed in five minutes or less, Sears said. Customers can use a link on Sears.com to arrange an action and the company’s Shop Your Way mobile app to alert store employees of their arrival, as demonstrated in the animation below:
As Sears Holdings senior VP Leena Munjal explained, “We’re all living busy, on-the-go lives, and this latest expansion to Sears integrated retail conveniences means that you can spend less time making a return or exchange and more time shopping.”