Sears Said to Close Stores, Lay Off About 5,500 Employees

Struggling retailer Sears Holdings Corp will lay off at least 5,457 employees and close over 100 stores, many before Christmas, according to a Seeking Alpha report citing liquidation notices and employees.

Sears shares rose 4.6 percent to $36 in premarket trading.

At least 46 Kmart stores, 30 Sears department stores and 31 Sears Auto Centers are scheduled to close before the end of January, said the report.

Sears officials were not immediately available for comment.

The company, which is struggling to reduce costs as its sales dwindle, closed 75 Kmart stores and 21 Sears stores in the first half of 2014.

It said last week that it would lease out seven stores, including the one at Pennsylvania's King of Prussia Mall, to discount fashion chain Primark for an undisclosed amount.

Sears had 1,077 Kmart stores and 793 Sears stores in the United States as of Aug. 2. The company had 226,000 U.S. employees as of Feb. 1.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)

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