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Dismal sales forces Sears Holdings hand

Company to shutter 100 to 120 Kmart, full-line Sears stores

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears Holdings last week announced that it will close between 100 and 120 underperforming Sears and Kmart stores, following dismal holiday sales results for the brands.

The company said it has not yet identified which stores will be shuttered, but said that the closures are part of an overall plan to shift its focus from shoring up underperformers to concentrating its efforts on stronger stores.

"Given our performance and the difficult economic environment, especially for big-ticket items, we intend to implement a series of actions to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model," said Louis D'Ambrosio, CEO. "These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers."

Sears said that the store closings will generate $140 to $170 million in cash from inventory sales. It anticipates additional proceeds from the sale or sublease of real estate holdings.

The retailer had announced numerous closings this year, but this is the largest group of closings to date.

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