Sears Borrows Another $500 Million From Its CEO Until It Can Sell More Stores

Image courtesy of Will

Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears and Kmart, has lost billions of dollars in the last few years. The last time that it did turn a profit, it was because the company had just sold a few billion dollars’ worth of store buildings to its affiliated real estate investment trust. Now the company is borrowing some cash from its CEO in anticipation of raising more money the same way.

“Wait, didn’t Sears Holdings just borrow half a billion from its CEO last week?” That was a different transaction: the company announced at the end of the year that it had secured a letter of credit of at least $200 million maxing out at $500 million, which allows Sears Holdings to keep its cash flow going as it continues to pretend to operate a retail company.

This week’s loan is meant to keep the company going until it sells more real estate: specifically, $321 million secured by 46 stores that the company plans to sell. It would put up more stores if it needs to borrow the remaining $179 million.

Who will buy that real estate? It could be the publicly traded Seritage real estate investment trust, which has bought up a lot of Sears stores, retaining the right to “recapture” some or all of the space, renting it to other restaurants or retailers.

The company also sold a closed store not attached or adjacent to a mall to a Chicago developer, which plans to spend double the purchase price to turn the building into apartments and non-Sears retail space.

Forget all of that merchandise: Sears Holdings is really in the business of selling Sears stores now.