Sears to close 'small percentage' of U.S. Kmart and Sears stores

Jan 13 (Reuters) - Sears Holdings Corp said it is closing a number of stores across the United States as part of an annual review of its store network and ongoing efforts by the struggling retailer to cut costs.

“We are going to be closing some Kmart and Sears stores in various cities across the country. It is a very small percentage of our overall number of stores,” said company spokesman Howard Riefs, without disclosing the number of affected locations.

“Every year we evaluate our store portfolio and make changes based on leases or stores with poor performance,” he said.

Sears Holdings owns the Sears department store and Kmart discount store chains. It had 952 Kmart stores and 735 Sears stores as of the end of October, according to its latest financial disclsoure.

Riefs said the closures would be primarily Kmart stores.

Sears, a traditional bricks-and-mortar retailer, has been trying to reduce its physical footprint as demand shifts online. Rival department store Macy’s Inc, which has been hurt by weak demand for winter apparel due to unusually warm weather, recently announced the planned closure of 36 stores.

Last month Sears also cited sluggish apparel sales in reporting that revenue at stores open more than a year fell 9.6 percent at Sears and 7.5 percent at Kmart in the fiscal third quarter, though its loss narrowed due to cost cuts.

Sears will likely report its fourth-quarter results, which include the crucial year-end holiday shopping season, in late February. It has not yet decided on the exact date, Riefs said. (Reporting by Nathan Layne in Chicago; Editing by David Gregorio)