Lampert reveals plans for Sears after bankruptcy: WSJ

FILE PHOTO: A dismantled sign sits leaning outside a Sears department store one day after it closed as part of multiple store closures by Sears Holdings Corp in the United States in Nanuet, New York, U.S., January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

(Reuters) - Sears Holdings Corp will sell or sublease some of the 425 stores of the retail chain and open smaller stores with more focus on tools and appliances than on apparel, said Chairman Edward Lampert in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

A U.S. bankruptcy judge approved Lampert’s hedge fund ESL investments Inc’s $5.2 billion takeover of the troubled retailer last week, allowing the department store chain to avert liquidation and preserve tens of thousands of jobs.

“It would be very difficult to keep all 425 stores open,” Lampert said in the interview, adding that a few stores have already been closed and would probably be sold soon.

Lampert, who stepped down as CEO of the company that filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 15, 2018, while remaining its chairman, also said he would hire a new CEO.

The restructured company, which has 223 Sears outlets and 202 Kmart stores, will keep Sears Auto Centers, Sears Homer Services and the Kenmore and DieHard brands.

Lampert also hinted that Sears would eventually be taken public, saying he doesn’t want the company to stay private indefinitely.

Reporting by Soundarya J in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli