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News Link • Economy - Economics USA

Sears closing more stores as holiday sales slide


The retailer, which is controlled by its chairman, the hedge fund manager Edward Lampert, has seen sales decline every year since the $11 billion merger of the two chains in 2005, and likely faces further closings to cut expenses, preserve cash and push back against rivals such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Inc, analysts said.

Sears also disclosed on Tuesday that it tapped its credit line to borrow cash and forecast that fourth-quarter earnings would fall by more than half.

Under Lampert, the company, once one of the most successful U.S. retailers with a history going back to 1886, has let stores deteriorate, said analysts, who also faulted poor locations and ho-hum merchandise for its ongoing problems.

"They've neglected this business for so long," independent retail analyst Brian Sozzi said, adding that he expects more closings. "They are letting Kmart and Sears die on the vine."

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