November 21, 2013 / 3:12 PM / 4 years ago

Sears CEO sees room to close more stores

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD.O) sees room to close more stores next year, Chief Executive Officer Edward Lampert told Reuters on Thursday.

Edward S. Lampert (L) speaks at a news conference in New York in this November 17, 2004 file photograph. REUTERS/Peter Morgan/Files

“We need to make the difficult choice” in some cases when the stores are unprofitable, said Lampert, who is also the largest shareholder and the chairman of the operator of Sears department stores and the Kmart discount chain.

The comments helped the stock climb 2.7 percent, reversing earlier declines. Also on Thursday, the company reported a wider quarterly net loss on tepid sales at both chains and margin weakness due to more promotions targeting rewards members.

Sears has so far allocated more than $2 billion to cover pension plans and expects those obligations to alleviate after one more “big payment” next year, Lampert said.

Lampert said the company did not have much debt maturing until 2016, and he will watch the capital markets closely and be “opportunitistic” about refinancing any debt next year.

The Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based company recently refinanced some debt, sold its stake in eight properties it owns with the Westcliff Group and terminated some store leases in Canada. It said it was on track to generate $2 billion of liquidity during the fiscal year.

Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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