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Why Sears Holdings Corp. Stock Was Slipping Today

By Jeremy Bowman - Sep 24, 2018 at 1:21PM

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Another plan to restructure debt and sell more assets sent the retailer's stock lower.

What happened

Shares of Sears Holdings Corp. ( SHLDQ ) were falling again today after CEO Eddie Lampert submitted a restructuring plan to help save the company from bankruptcy. Once again, Lampert is using his ESL Investments hedge fund to give his company the liquidity it needs to survive. As a result of the announcement, the stock was down 6.8% as of 12:26 p.m. EDT.

The exterior of a Sears store

Image source: Sears Holdings.

So what

According to a filing, Lampert's plan would restructure $1.1 billion in debt, and call on Sears to sell $1.5 billion in real estate holdings and $1.75 billion in other assets, including Sears Home Services and the Kenmore appliance brand.

The proposal is the latest sign of the dire straits Sears faces; the company continues to close stores and sell off assets in an attempt to turn around the business and give the company the liquidity it needs to stay afloat. In the proposal, ESL noted that Sears has a $134 million debt payment due Oct. 15, a sign of the retailer's urgent need for cash.

Now what

Sears' underlying performance appears to be improving, as its same-store sales slide narrowed in its most recent quarter, but the company is still losing hundreds of millions of dollars every quarter. At this point, it's almost certainly too late for the business to be saved, especially considering the broader headwinds against department stores and in favor of e-commerce. Moves such as the ones above may delay Sears' ultimate demise, but they're unlikely to lead to the business's recovery.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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