This holiday season is shaping up to be rough for thousands of Sears Holding (SHLD) employees.
The retailer is set to close more than 100 Kmart, Sears and Sears Auto Center locations, with many of those closures taking place before Christmas, according to a report in Seeking Alpha, which cited liquidation sale notices sent to the stores.
In an email to CBS MoneyWatch, Sears Holding spokesman Howard Riefs said the number of store closings and list of closures "isn't accurate," but added that the retailer is "adjusting our physical footprint to focus on our best performing locations." The retailer will provide an updated store count when it reports third-quarter results later this year, he added.
The struggling retailer has been seeking to right itself ahead of the holiday shopping season, taking on strategies to boost its cash holdings and reassure vendors. On Monday, it said it would sell $625 million in debt to shareholders, effectively turning to billionaire chief executive Edward Lampert for additional funds, given that he controls almost half the shares.
Sears this week also said it would rustle up additional funds by leasing space in several stores to the discount retailer Primark.
Despite the moves to shore up its finances, Sears continues to struggle to get shoppers through its doors. During the second quarter, Kmart same-store sales declined 1.7 percent, while Sears stores barely budged the needle, rising just 0.1 percent.
Confusing displays, empty shelves, and disorganized departments may be turning some shoppers away. Earlier this year, one analyst predicted the company was in a "death spiral" and could be out of business by 2017.
The financial situation of the company, to some extent, hasn't improved this year, with losses mounting to nearly $1 billion for the first six months of 2014. That's almost double the losses recorded at the same time a year earlier, signaling the company is burning through more cash as sales continue to falter.
According to Seeking Alpha, the closures include at least 46 Kmart stores, 30 Sears department stores and 31 Sears Auto Centers in areas ranging from Huntsville, Alabama, to Bluefield, West Virginia. It's also said to be shutting down its location at the massive King of Prussia Mall near Philadelphia. The states with the most closures are Pennsylvania, Michigan and Indiana, with eight Sears Holdings locations closing in each of those states, the report notes.
Sears will hire additional workers for the holidays, spokesman Riefs noted in his email. "We have and continue to have a huge store footprint," he wrote. The company employs more than 200,000 workers, he added.