Last week, we learned that Sears Holdings, parent company of Kmart and Sears, was planning to close a few dozen more stores as part of its ongoing “transformation” from a nationwide retailer into a handful of appliance showrooms and an online rewards points scheme. Today, the company announced more cuts among staff at its headquarters outside of Chicago, eliminating 400 positions.
That’s in addition to the employees who work at stores that will begin their going-out-of-business sales this week and close by September, and jobs in the company’s field operations that have also been cut.
In addition to selling off real estate and its valuable brands, Sears Holdings is engaging in some aggressive cost-cutting to stay solvent, and announced that with these store closings and layoffs, it has reached $1 billion in annual cuts out of its $1.25 billion target.
“We are making progress with the fundamental restructuring of our operations that we initiated in February,” said Eddie Lampert, manifesto-writing chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings. “We remain focused on realigning our business model in an evolving and highly competitive retail environment. This requires us to optimize our store footprint and operate as a leaner and simpler organization.”
The layoffs are part of the company’s efforts to integrate the operations of Sears and Kmart, something that we sort of assumed was the entire point of a merger like this one. Kmart acquired Sears Roebuck to form Sears Holdings in 2005.
Sears Holdings also announced in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that the president of its “Online” division will leave the company on June 15, ostensibly as part of the reorganization.