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Sears Trimming More Stores

Sears Holdings is conducting another round of store closings, affecting an undisclosed number of Sears and Kmart locations around the country.

All the retailer would reveal is that it’s closing “some stores,” mostly Kmarts, in various cities around the country, and that they represent “a very small percentage” of the total. Liquidation sales will begin later this month, and most of the targeted stores will be shuttered in April.

Local news reports of area closings include:

*two stores in Michigan;

*two stores in the greater Cleveland;

*four stores in California;

*three stores in Tennessee;

*two stores in South Dakota;

*two stores in Florida;

*three stores in Virginia; and

*one store in Hawaii, the chain’s first in that state.

The move follows another alarming quarter with losses of $454 million and a 20 percent drop in revenue amid comp declines of 7.5 percent at Kmart and 9.6 percent at Sears.

Chairman, CEO and chief investor Edward Lampert has downplayed the role of brick-and-mortar in favor of a multichannel “integrated retail” strategy, but has also been busy monetizing the company’s real estate through sales, sub-leases and the creation of a real estate investment trust (REIT).

The company operated 952 Kmart stores and 708 Sears locations at the end of its last fiscal quarter (Oct. 31, 2015). Its last major bloodletting was two years ago, when it shuttered 132 stores.

“Store closures are part of a series of actions we’re taking to reduce on going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” the company said in a statement.

The statement continued: “These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail — at the store, online and in the home. Our investments in Shop Your Way and integrated retail enable us to migrate the shopping activity of highly engaged members who previously shopped these closed stores to alternative channels. As a result, we hope to retain a portion of the sales previously associated with these stores by nurturing and maintaining our relationships with the members that shopped these locations.”