Sears Holdings Corp on Thursday identified 79 of the 100 to 120 Sears and Kmart stores it said earlier this week it would close, with the list split almost evenly between the two chains.
The struggling retailer on Tuesday reported weak holiday sales and forecast earnings for the current quarter would fall by more than half compared to the year earlier results. It also said it tapped its credit line. [ID:nL3E7NR434]
Fitch Ratings on Thursday afternoon downgraded Sears to 'CCC' from 'B', citing a "continued deterioration" in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), which it said could turn negative next year.
Fitch said in a note it expects Sears' liquidity to be "inadequate" in 2012. If the retailer can't tap the markets or other sources, and if EBITDA stays where it is or falls, "there is a heightened risk of restructuring over the next 24 months."
The cost of insuring Sears' debt with credit default swaps rose as investors saw more default risk. As of Thursday, it cost $3.23 million paid upfront to insure $10 million of Sears Roebuck Acceptance Corp debt, plus $500,000 annual payments, according to data provider CMA.
That is up from an upfront cost of $2.93 million on $10 million of debt, plus $500,000 annually on Wednesday.
Standard & Poor's on Wednesday placed Sears' credit rating on review for a possible downgrade, saying the closings would not do much to improve its performance.
Sears, which is based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, will close 41 Sears stores and 38 Kmart stores. It did not say by when, or how many employees will be affected.
For a list of the affected locations, see www.searsmedia.com/tools/122711_close.pdf
The list does not include any stores in Illinois, where Governor Pat Quinn two weeks ago signed into law tax breaks aimed at keeping Sears and other Illinois-based companies from leaving the state.
Sears Holdings' sales have declined every year since the 2005 merger that combined the two chains.
The closings announced on Tuesday follow 49 closings announced earlier this fiscal year. At the start of the year, the company operated 1,278 Kmart discount stores and 842 big box Sears stores.
(Reporting By Phil Wahba; Additional reporting by Dena Aubin; Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Gary Hill)
Here are 2011's American layoff kings:
Estimated layoffs in 2011: 700 Sears Holding Corporation announced the layoffs of about 700 workers in the higher-ticket appliances department of the Kmart stores in June. Some of those workers might have been transferred to other locations, and other employees were trained to answer questions from customers about the appliances, according to Sears. With more than 300,000 workers, 700 might not seem like much. The problem is that it is just one more "death of a salesman" report of a company that has lost its greatness and is in decline. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
Estimated layoffs in 2011: 700 Gannett Co., in its most recent round of layoffs, announced earlier this summer another 700 employees will lose their jobs. The move will trim another 2% of its nearly 22,000 workforce. Gannet's more than 80 community and other newspaper units have been affected by the advertising community's environment slowness. The big problem in media operations is that the trajectory remains one of decline. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
Estimated layoffs in 2011: 1,000 Goldman Sachs Group Inc. left the door open to changes, but said in July it could cut roughly 1,000 jobs. The aim is to trim about $1.2 billion from operating costs. If you just use the headcount and the implied savings, it comes to about $120,000 per worker per year. Goldman's headcount was close to 35,500 in its most recent quarter. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
Estimated layoffs in 2011: 1,200 - 1,400 Boston Scientific Inc. announced plans in July to trim an additional 5% to 6% of its workforce. This puts the layoffs between 1,200 to 1,400 employees through the end of 2013. The aim is to cut $225 million to $275 million from the yearly operating costs. Sadly, this is at the same time the company is expanding its China workforce. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
Estimated layoffs in 2011: 1,500 Lockheed Martin Corporation announced in June that of the 28,000 employees in its Aeronautics business unit it was shedding about 1,500 workers to improve affordability and to increase operational efficiency. Many workers are being offered voluntary buyout packages. Lockheed's total headcount at the time was about 126,000. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
Estimated layoffs in 2011: 2,000 Delta Air Lines Inc. is not imminently sending its workers home packing, but it announced in late July that about 2,000 workers -- out of its more than 80,000 workers -- have accepted voluntary buyouts as the carrier trims flights. Whether the latest drop in fuel matters or not is up in the air (no pun intended). Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
Estimated layoffs in 2011: 2,000 Research in Motion Ltd. has been under siege and, frankly, the viability of the BlackBerry is becoming an issue. This company's layoffs you might blame on Apple's iPhone or Google's Android, but in the end, this might just be one more business buried by Apple and Google that turns out to be an economic event. RIM's "headcount reduction" will amount to 2,000 of about 19,000 of its workforce. What is sad is that it might be very easy to assume that more cuts will be coming soon if the market share trends continue in the same manner. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
Estimated layoffs in 2011: 6,500 Cisco Systems Inc. has recently announced it would lay off 6,500 employees, or 9% of its full-time workforce. The company aims to trim about $1 billion from its operating costs. But some question whether this is enough, so this number could increase. Consequently, news outlets have claimed that as many as 10,000 layoffs will be announced. This "rebalance" is going to be somewhat system wide and affect many management positions, including about 2,100 who accepted early retirement packages. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
Estimated layoffs in 2011: 12,000 - 13,000 Merck & Co. most recently cut 12,000 to 13,000 jobs following the merger with Schering-Plough. The workforce is close to 91,000 after previous layoffs, but even as the company is firing, it is also hiring elsewhere, lessening the blow. The new cuts aim to trim $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion in operating costs as Merck tries to be more nimble to compete globally. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
Estimated layoffs in 2011: 10,000 Borders Group is now bankrupt and the last of the workers are solely conducting store-closure sales. All stores were being closed, and more than 10,000 workers are wondering if they can get a job at a library or another book store. While particularly in Borders' case, the shift to digital may be partly to blame, along with with poor management, but the economy is certainly also playing its part in curbing consumer purchases. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
Estimated layoffs in 2011: 30,000 over 3 years HSBC Holdings plc has exited retail operations in Poland and Russia, as well as three insurance operations. It also sold 195 nonstrategic branches (mostly in New York). The aim is to achieve some $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion of sustainable cost savings by 2013 through layoffs. HSBC began restructurings in Latin America, United States, United Kingdom, France and the Middle East, aiming to reduce its headcount by around 5,000. The total reported job cuts was actually put at 30,000 over the next 3 years. HSBC's global headcount is about 295,000. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.