Sears planning to close more stores going forward

New York -- There are more store closings in Sears’ future. In an address at Sears Holding Corp.’s annual shareholders meeting, chairman and CEO Edward Lampert said the company would close stores and look for ways to leverage its real estate as it continues to focus on integrated omnichannel retail and its Shop Your Way rewards program.

"Closing stores is going to be part of our future," Lampert said. "I'd rather do (fewer closures) rather than more, but the world has shifted."

He did not give an estimate on how many stores Sears would close. But with regards to marginally performing stores, Lampert said "the decision more often than not is to not renew the lease."

"We think you don't need 2,000 stores to be relevant in the United States," he said.

Lampert said that rental income from subleasing store space in Sears stores to other retailers is likely to increase going forward.  Sears has closed about 300 stores since 2010, and has spun off its Orchard Supply Hardware, Sears Hometown and Lands' End businesses. The company currently operates approximately 778 full-line namesake stores and 1,152 Kmart stores in the United States.

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