Up to 140 Sears, Kmart stores could face closure

This pension plan will allow Sears to gain more financial flexibility and provides relief from contributions to the pension plans for the next two years.

Those sales or loans obtained with some of those properties used as security could raise up to $407 million that could be injected into the pension plan, according to a press release issued Wednesday by the company.

The struggling retailer, which has lost more than $10 billion in the last six years, also said it may sell off 140 stores in a deal with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp to pay $407 million into its underfunded pension plan. The department store chain made a deal with a USA government pension board to regain the right to sell these sores as they expect to use all the proceeds from the sales or financing deals to fund a pension plan. Once it makes a US$407mln contribution to the pension plan, it will be relieved of its requirement to make a US$37mln quarterly payment.

Sears said it has contributed about $4.5 billion to pension plans since the 2005 merger of Sears and Kmart. And in January, Sears Holding generated some much-needed income by selling off its popular Craftsman tool line to Stanley Black & Decker for a reported $900 million paid out over several years.

Sears expects about $3.7 billion in revenue for the third quarter, down from $5 billion a year ago, mostly because of store closures. The company continues to close underperforming stores and sell assets in an attempt to remain afloat.

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