Sears Canada Inc., a unit of the cash-strapped broadline
Sears Holdings Corporation
), concluded its first deal as per the strategic initiatives
announced on Oct 29 to enhance liquidity and improve operating
performance. The company successfully terminated leases at five
of its stores for a sum of $400 million.
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As part of the deal, the company will no longer conduct business
at the four properties of The Cadillac Fairview Corporation
Limited in Ontario, namely Toronto Eaton Centre, Sherway Gardens,
Markville Shopping Centre and London-Masonville Place.
Additionally, the company has withdrawn operations from Ivanhoé
Cambridge and Cadillac Fairview's property in British Columbia,
the Richmond Centre.
Sears Canada is expected to depart from the Toronto Eaton Centre,
Sherway Gardens and London-Masonville Place by Feb 28, 2014, and
discontinue operations at the Markville Shopping Centre and
Richmond Centre a year later, by Feb 28, 2015.
Further, the company stated that the 965 employees at these five
Sears stores can apply for suitable positions in existing and
upcoming Sears stores.
However, the company maintained that it will continue to head
operations from the top four floors of the Toronto Eaton Center.
The company's decision to shed these leased locations was guided
by a review of the potential profitability from the operation of
these stores against the sum offered to vacate them. Following
the closure of these 5 stores the company will operate 111
full-line department stores across Canada. This marks a
significant presence in the country, with the potential to
successfully expand in the future.
Further, the company remains focused on evaluating its store
locations on the domestic front and doing away with unprofitable
stores in order to use the untapped capital to expand its
existing highly profitable Kmart and Sears stores.
Additionally, as a part of its transformation plans, Sears
Holdings has decided to spin off its Lands' End and Sears Auto
Center businesses. The separation is expected to provide
additional liquidity while focusing on its core business.
Notably, Sears Holdings is focusing on cost containment,
inventory management and merchandise initiatives to inflate
margins. We commend the company's strategy of capitalizing on
opportunities, while increasing profitability through its
revamped organizational structure and new operating model. All
these measures are expected to drive top and bottom-line growth.
Other Stocks to Consider
Sears Holdings currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks
that are worth a look in the retail-discount space include
Big Lots Inc.
The TJX Companies Inc.
Dollar Tree Inc.
). All of these have a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).