Sears to close another 72 stores amid plunging sales

Sears faces financial troubles

Hit by plunging sales and a first-quarter loss, Sears said it will close another 72 stores.

The struggling retailer said Thursday that it has identified about 100 unprofitable stores, and plans to shutter 72 of those locations.

Sears Holdings Corp., based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, lost $424 million, or $3.93 per share, in its first quarter, reversing a profit of $245 million in the year-ago quarter. The profit was due to a $492 million gain tied to the sale of the Craftsman brand.

Revenue plunged more than 30 percent to $2.89 billion, with store closings already under way contributing to almost two thirds of the decline. 

Even though the current retail environment is difficult for many retailers, Sears' performance has been much worse than its rivals. One analyst earlier this year described the company as dealing with a "toxic mix of issues," including unattractive stores, dramatically falling sales and high debt levels. 

In a statement, CEO Edward S. Lampert described the quarter as "challenging."

The company said it will disclose the locations of the store closures by mid-day Thursday.

Shares are down more than 3 percent before the opening bell.