Sears Attempts Real Estate Sale Through Website

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In December, Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to spin-off its Lands’ End stores, leaving the Auto Centers for a potential spin-off or sale, and all the real estate. Now the real estate is available at a website operated by Seritage Realty Trust.

Nowhere on the website is Seritage identified as a subsidiary of Sears, and a Sears spokesman told Bloomberg News:

Sears Holdings’ strategy is to use the real estate we occupy productively. That means generating enough profit from our operations and, if we can’t do than, deriving profit by using it in other ways.

Some analysts expect Sears to spin-off Seritage into a separately traded real estate investment trust (REIT), but Sears has not yet transferred any assets to Seritage.

The value of Sears-owned real estate has been estimated as high as $7 billion and as low as $4 billion. That includes both Sears and Kmart properties. If Sears does spin off Seritage, potential buyers are unlikely to stampede to buy the company’s properties. Buyers likely would wait, expecting prices to fall as the parent company gets smaller and continues to lose money.

Sears reports fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday, and the company is expected to post a per-share loss of $1.60 on revenues of $10.52 billion. Sears posted a $3.13 per share loss in the third quarter, and the full-year loss is currently estimated at $7.83 per share on full-year revenues of $36.29 billion.

The company’s stock was up nearly 5.5% shortly before noon on Tuesday, trading at $40.14 in a 52-week range of $32.85 to $67.50.