Sears considering sale of Sears Canada

Sears Holdings (NASDAQ: SHLD) announced Wednesday that it is considering selling Sears' Canadian operations.

The U.S. retailer, which runs namesake stores and Kmart locations, is looking at strategic options for its 51 percent interest in Sears Canada. This includes the possible sale of its stake or the entirety of Sears Canada.

Sears Canada is a separate publicly held company that operates 176 Sears stores, 233 Hometown stores, seven Sears home services showrooms and approximately 1,400 catalog and online merchandise pick-up locations in Canada.

Sears Canada said it has been informed of the strategic review by Sears Holdings.

"Sears Canada's board and management intend to co-operate fully with Sears Holdings in this process to achieve value for all shareholders," Sears Canada said in a statement.

The announcement comes as Sears CEO Edward Lampert works through a three-year turnaround plan for Sears Canada. Over the past year, Sears Canada has sold leases to some of its most prominent locations and announced aggressive staff layoffs aimed at lowering expenses. At the company's annual shareholder meeting in Hoffman Estates May 6, Lampert said he would consider all options to monetize assets, including closing stores.

For the most recent quarter, Sears Canada reported a 10 percent decline in sales to $1.18 billion compared to $1.30 billion the prior year. Same store sales also declined 6 percent.

In November, unnamed sources said Lampert was planning to sell its Sears Canada division. Not only did Sears deny the rumors of a sale, but it reaffirmed plans to bolster its Canadian business.

"It is false to claim that Mr. Lampert, the CEO of Sears Holdings, is interviewing or otherwise is in talks with investment bankers about Sears Holdings' interest in Sears Canada," according to a company statement on Monday, November 25.

For more:
-See this Sears Holdings press release

Related stories:
Sears Canada to cut 1,600 jobs as it outsources, restructures
Sears files to spin off Lands' End business
Sears denies rumors of Canadian unit sale
Sears reports third quarter loss on weak same-store sales
Sears may split Lands' End, Auto Center business; reports sales drop

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