CNN Money today is quoting the Sears CEO Eddie Lampert who wrote on their corporate blog this Monday that frequent reports about KMarts demise are “false and exaggerated”, and there are “no plans and there have never been any plans to close the Kmart format”. Of course, he then went on to concede that some unprofitable KMarts stores will be closed, with 78 locations announced for closure last April. This blog post was on the heels of Moodys reporting last month that it was particularly concerned about “the viability of the Kmart franchise”. And piling on last week was ratings agency Fitch naming Sears as one of several retailers that could soon default on its debt.
Sears IS predicting continued sales deline (as has been happening annually since 2005) , and analysts expect sales to keep declining at both Sears and Kmart stores in the foreseeable future. Lampert did say last spring that it may sell three of its most well-known brands – Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard, and looking for “strategic alternatives” for its Home Services installation and repair businesses. And some of that strategy appears to be in play, with Bloomberg announcing yesterday that Stanley Black & Decker was among the bidders for Craftsman.
Store counts today stand at approximately 900 KMarts and 700 Sears stores.