After experiencing weak holiday sales, Sears Holdings will be closing between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores in 2012. Announcing via internal memo that the retailer had failed to generate “the results we were seeking during the holiday,” CEO and president Lou D’Ambrosio told employees that the retailer would be examining the situation and determining which stores would be shut down. It is not yet known how many jobs, “if any,” will be lost, he said[1].

Not surprisingly, Sears shares plummeted to their lowest point in more than three years in the wake of the announcement, and Whirlpool shares also fell. Whirlpool will lose a key outlet for its products when the stores close, as Sears alone accounts for between 6 and 9 percent of Whirlpool’s annual sales. Analysts predict that the chain will likely continue to struggle in the wake of the closings, with one Credit Suisse analyst saying that the move indicates that “the extent of [Sears’] weakness may be larger than expected, but…it begins and…ends with Sears’ reluctance to invest in stores and service.” Sears predicts that the store closings will generate as much as $170 million in cash from inventory sales and plans to sell or sublease associated real estate to generate additional cash[2].

Do you think Sears Holdings will make it?

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