KMart in Auburn has escaped another round of closing. (Sun Journal file photo)

Sears Holdings Corp. kicked off another fiscal year with declining sales from a dwindling number of stores, and more closings are on the way.

The operator of Sears and Kmart stores posted a first-quarter loss of $3.93 a share, Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Sears said Thursday. Revenue fell due to fewer stores and a 12 percent drop in same-store sales. The company said it has identified 100 unprofitable stores, and 72 of them will begin store-closing sales in the near future.

The Kmart on Center Street in Auburn is not on the company’s list of Sears and Kmart stores to be closed.

Chief Executive Officer Edward Lampert has been striving to revive the company by closing unprofitable stores and selling or spinning off assets like its Lands’ End clothing unit. But Sears has lost about $11 billion since 2012. Now it’s hired a second set of advisers to re-shop its Kenmore appliance brand along with some home-services businesses. In April, Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc., said it was willing to purchase those assets itself.

A rally in Sears bonds triggered by the company’s search for asset buyers is casting doubt on plans for reducing the retailer’s debt, Lampert said earlier this week. He’s the retailer’s biggest shareholder and has been using his own money for years to keep the 125-year-old chain open.

First quarter sales were $2.9 billion, compared with $4.2 billion a year earlier, Sears said. The shares have lost 10 percent this year through Wednesday’s close.


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