July 7, 2017 / 5:19 PM / a month ago

Sears to close 43 more stores to cut costs

CHICAGO, July 7 (Reuters) - Sears Holdings Corp is closing eight of its namesake department stores and 35 Kmart locations as part of its effort to cut costs and square footage to return to profitability, Chief Executive Officer Eddie Lampert said on Friday.

The store closings are in addition to 150 that the company announced in January. Once the largest U.S. retailer, Sears has struggled with years of losses and declining sales as shoppers shift online. The company said in February it would cut costs this year by at least $1 billion.

Shares of Sears were down 3 percent at $7.60 in afternoon trading.

Sears expects to open more smaller-format stores while shrinking its large, less-competitive ones, Lampert wrote in a blog post. (bit.ly/2u03gDc)

"We reached the point in the past 12 months where some of our vendors have reduced their support, thereby placing additional pressure on our business," Lampert said.

Sears suppliers told Reuters in March that they were doubling down on defensive measures, such as reducing shipments and asking for better payment terms, to protect against the risk of nonpayment.

Lampert said on Friday that Sears was on track to meet its cost-cutting targets.

A Sears spokesman declined to say how many jobs would be lost from these store closures. He said employees who are eligible would receive severance and be able to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores. (Reporting by Richa Naidu; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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