Sears to slash 400 corporate jobs as retail chain continues cost cuts

Ailing department-store chain Sears Holdings is cutting 400 corporate jobs and an unknown number of other positions as it seeks stability following a series of missteps compounded by the retail industry's crisis.

Sears said Tuesday that the latest round of cuts is included in its $1.25 billion cost-cutting plan unveiled earlier this year.

Those cuts include a stealth round 66 additional store closures confirmed last week, which includes 49 Kmart locations. That added to a previous list of 180 stores the company announced would close earlier this year.

The retailer said Tuesday it had already slashed nearly $1 billion and would achieve its cost-cutting goal for the year. The corporate positions are largely located at the company's headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Sears spokesman Howard Riefs declined to provide a figure on the size of the company's corporate workforce. The retailer had 140,000 employees overall as of Jan. 28, according to a public filing.

The company also said it would cut an unspecified number of "positions at our field operations."

"While the total number of people who are directly affected represents a small fraction of our total headcount, we are conscious of the impact on individual employees," Sears said in a statement. "We are providing eligible associates severance compensation and transition assistance."

The cost cuts have generally pleased investors. Still, the company is facing widespread speculation that its destiny is bankruptcy court after it failed to reinvent itself in the online age.

But CEO Eddie Lampert lashed out in May at the "many commentators" who "have rushed to conclusions" about Sears' future. Sears is "fighting like hell" to turn the corner, he said at the time.

"Not only have these predictions been off the mark and based on incomplete and selective information or biased sources, but they have also been harmful," Lampert said in a blog post. "We have spent a lot of time educating many external stakeholders — we need each other for success — and while it hasn’t been easy, we are still here and fighting hard."

 

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