Jan
21

Changes in Sears’ CRE Portfolio Affect Retail Landscape

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sears closing soonSears, the nearly 130-year-old retailer that arguably invented big-box shopping, is deconstructing parts of its still-imposing real estate portfolio in ways that could make a profound impact on the U.S. retail landscape.

Sears Holdings Corp., formed from a merger with Kmart a decade ago that consolidated some 3,500 stores across the two banners, operates fewer than half that many stores today, following a few waves of closures. Chairman, CEO and controlling shareholder Edward S. Lampert says the company is cashing in part of its real estate treasure trove as a means of helping support the remaining stores.

And he dismisses critics who say the move is too little, too late. Meanwhile, industry experts mull over the value of the remaining properties and their potential reuses. “Sears real estate is a valuable asset, with tremendous potential for the right tenant in the right location,” said Matt Hammond, director of retail brokerage at Tustin, Calif.–based Coreland Cos. But “only 25 percent of Sears locations are in ‘A’ markets.”

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