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September 13, 2018

Sears just gave investors one more reason to worry

The latest bad news from Sears will have to wait.

Shares of Sears Holdings fell once again Thursday after the company did not report second quarter financial results before the market opened, as it had promised to.

Sears didn't say why, and the company didn't respond to a request for comment. Under regulatory rules, Sears has to report by Friday.

"I would say it's unusual for any company, struggling or prospering, to not report when they said they were going to report," said Robert Schulz, chief credit analyst overseeing retailers for Standard & Poor's.

Sears is seeking a buyer for its Kenmore appliance brand to raise cash for its attempted turnaround. Schulz said the company may be wrapping up details on a sales agreement for Kenmore before it announces results.

Sears CEO and primary shareholder Eddie Lampert has offered to buy Kenmore through a hedge fund he controls for $400 million, but the independent members of the Sears board have yet to agree to the deal.

The company has not said when there might be a decision on the sale. Lampert told the board last month that closing a Kenmore deal quickly was "critical" to Sears.

Sears' market value is only $134 million. Investors think the whole company is worth roughly a third of the Kenmore brand by itself.

Sears Holdings, which also owns the Kmart brand, has been hemorrhaging money for years. It has lost $11.2 billion since 2010, its last profitable year. Sales have plunged 60% in that time.

Sears and Kmart had 3,500 combined US stores in 2005, when they merger. Today they have fewer than 900, and the company announced in August that 46 more will close before the holiday shopping season.

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