US-based retail conglomerate Sears Holdings has unveiled plans to close ten Sears stores and 68 Kmart outlets this year.
The latest move follows a comprehensive evaluation of the company’s store portfolio aimed at identifying branches nearing lease expirations, as well as performing unprofitably.
All of the Sears outlets and a number of the Kmart stores will close in late July.
Two Kmart stores located at Taylor, Michigan; and Lorain, Ohio; will close in mid-September.
Sears Holdings chairman and chief executive officer Edward S Lampert said: "The decision to close stores is a difficult but necessary step as we take aggressive actions to strengthen our company, fund our transformation and restore Sears Holdings to profitability.
"We’re focusing on our best members, our best categories and our best stores as we work to accelerate our transformation."
"Sears Holdings will continue to transform as the role of the store evolves to fit the way that members want to shop. Through our continued investments in Integrated Retail, our stores are a critical component of our strategy as we provide our members with industry-leading innovations such as Meet with an Expert; in-vehicle pickup; and return and exchange in five."
However, the company has affirmed its commitment to eligible associates impacted by the store closures. They will receive severance pay and can apply for open positions at other Kmart or Sears stores.
Sears has been facing losses as consumers have been preferring online shopping over malls. Reuters reported that it has lost more than $8bn over the last five years.