BUSINESS

Sears stock jumps as it says it's exploring sale of buildings to improve liquidity

11/07/2014 08:14 EST | Updated 01/07/2015 05:59 EST
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Sears Holdings' stock soared Friday after the struggling retailer said it's considering selling about 200 to 300 of its buildings to boost its liquidity.

The move would entail the company forming a real estate investment trust, or REIT, that would hold the stores. Sears would continue to operate in the stores by leasing them back. Sears said it would get "substantial proceeds" from the sale, and that shareholders would be given the option to buy shares of the REIT.

Sears stock shot up more than 31 per cent to close at $42.81.

Sears Holdings Corp., which runs Sears and Kmart stores, has been slashing costs and looking to raise cash to return to profitability. The company, which was once a staple of American shopping, is facing pressure from nimbler rivals such as Wal-Mart Stores and Home Depot. It's is also dealing with broader industry issues, including a slow economic recovery that's not benefiting all Americans equally and shoppers who are taking their dollars elsewhere.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, Sears also said it expects third-quarter sales to dip 0.1 per cent at established locations. An expected 0.7 per cent decline at Sears offset a 0.5 per cent increase at Kmart.

In August, the company reported its ninth straight quarterly loss as sales continued to slide. The company, based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, is controlled by billionaire hedge fund investor Edward Lampert.

Lampert combined Sears and Kmart in 2005 about two years after he helped bring Kmart out of bankruptcy protection.