Sears, Kmart to close 6 Illinois stores as sales plunge

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Sears will close another 72 stores as sales plunge and losses grow. | Getty

Sears will close another 72 stores, including six stores in Illinois as sales plunge and losses grow.

The beleaguered retailer said that it has identified about 100 stores that are no longer turning a profit, and the majority of those locations will be shuttered soon.

According to a document posted on Sears’ corporate website, five stores in Aurora, Springfield and Vernon Hills will close in late July, while the Gurnee location will close in late June. Kmart’s Rockford location will close in September, the document said.

Sears lost $424 million, or $3.93 per share, for the period ended May 5. It earned $245 million, or $2.29 per share, a year earlier, a quarter that included a $492 million gain tied to the sale of the Craftsman brand.

Revenue tumbled more than 30 percent to $2.89 billion, with store closings already underway contributing to almost two thirds of the decline.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a key gauge of a retailer’s health, tumbled 11.9 percent. Comparable-stores sales slid 9.5 percent at Kmart stores, and 13.4 percent at Sears.

The one-time powerhouse retailer that survived two world wars and the Great Depression has been calving off pieces of itself as it burns through money.

Kenmore, the retailer’s appliance brand, became the latest potential sale after ESL Investments, the company’s largest shareholder, headed by Sears Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert, said it might be interested in buying it.

Lampert, who combined Sears and Kmart in 2005 after helping to bring the latter out of bankruptcy, has long pledged to save the famed retailer, which started in the 1880s as a mail-order catalog business.

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