Sears closing 72 more stores as sales plunge

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The stores should close in September.

Last year, Macy's shuttered a mall store in Alton while Sears Holdings announced the closing of Kmart stores in Belleville and south St. Louis County, leaving just two Kmarts in the St. Louis area. At its peak in the 2000s, there were 3,500 Sears stores and 2,171 Kmart locations throughout the country.

To stem losses, Sears has closed almost 400 stores since past year, leaving 894 stores still open as of May 5.

The company has identified 100 Sears and Kmart stores that have not been turning a profit, and has chosen 72 it will close "in the near future".

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The decline in comparable-store sales, a key metric in retail, should be "alarming" to investors, said Noel Hebert, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst.

Earlier in the day Sears said it would be closing 72 stores, but chose to further evaluate nine locations.

The move comes less than five months after Sears announced at the start of the year that it would close more than 100 stores. The company "will need to continue to right size our store base and focus on our best stores, including our new smaller store formats". Last year's gain included $492 million from the sale of Sears' Craftsman tool brand to Stanley Black & Decker, a deal valued at roughly $900 million overall.

He called it a "difficult, but necessary" action as Sears works to turn around years of losses. Revenue plunged more than 30 percent to $2.89 billion, with store closings already under way contributing to nearly two thirds of the decline. It reported a net loss of $424 million, compared to a profit of $245 million the same time previous year. This is perhaps unfortunate for Sears retirees, but it seems like a pretty good idea to people other than Eddie Lampert.

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