66 more Sears and Kmart stores are shutting, including 4 in California

In its latest wave of cuts, Sears Holdings Corp. will close 66 Sears and Kmart stores across the country, including four in California, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

A list circulated internally on Tuesday said the California stores slated for closure are a Sears location in Chico and Kmart locations in Blythe, Sacramento and Manteca.

The closures, of 17 Sears stores and 49 Kmart stores nationwide, are part of the company’s “operational restructuring efforts,” said the person, who was not authorized to comment publicly because the closures had not been formally announced.

One of the Sears stores will shut in late July, and the rest of the closures will take place in early September, the person said.

Sears — based in the Chicago suburb of Hoffman Estates — has been on shaky ground for a while. In March, it said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that “substantial doubt exists” that the company could survive.

Chief Financial Officer Jason Hollar quickly dismissed concerns, saying that the language was required by regulators but that Sears was focused on turning itself around and was still “a viable business that can meet its financial and other obligations for the foreseeable future.”

In an effort to stop the bleeding, the company has closed more than 1,000 stores in recent years, and in January, it sold its Craftsman tools brand to Stanley Black & Decker for about $900 million.

The sale of Craftsman lifted Sears to a profit last quarter, but the company posted a $2.2-billion loss for the fiscal year that ended Jan. 28 — double its $1.1-billion loss the previous year.

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Sears’ struggles come during a tough time for traditional retailers. Shoppers are increasingly buying online, and a report from Credit Suisse last week predicted that between 20% and 25% of the nation’s shopping malls will shut in the next five years.

Shares of Sears jumped 6.2% to $7.02 on Wednesday. The stock was still down 48% from a year earlier.

jack.flemming@latimes.com

@jflem94

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