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Sears Hometown & Outlet stores discuss liquidation

ESL Investments opposed to any liquidation moves, shakes up SHOS board.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Board members from Sears Hometown & Outlet (SHOS) stores met on April 15 to discuss the possibility of liquidating the faltering chain.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, meetings are being held to determine if the retailer will liquidate the Hometown segment of the business.

SHOS operates about 750 stores in 49 states. Stores are operated by SHOS along with dealer-owners and franchisees under several brand names including Sears Hometown, Sears Appliance & Hardware, Sears Home Appliance Showroom, Sears Outlet and Buddy’s Home Furnishings franchise.

Liquidation moves are opposed by ESL Investments, which owns about 58% of Sears Hometown shares, however.

Last week a subsidiary of ESL Investments – Transform Holdco – proposed purchasing all of the outstanding shares of SHOS not already owned by ESL, offering $2.25 per share.

SHOS shares closed at $2.31 on April 12 and were trading around $2.25 at midday of April 15.

ESL has also said it opposes any liquidation moves by SHOS. “Any decision to liquidate the Hometown business would have a negative effect on Hometown owners and their families, who have supported the company for more than 25 years, along with their employees and the communities that they serve,” ESL said in a statement.

ESL recently removed William Phelan and David Robbins from the Sears Hometown board and has appointed Alberto Franco and John Tober, according to the filing.

Last month SHOS reported fourth quarter sales fell 6.7% to $298.6 million. The company also reported net loss of $30.3 million for the quarter.

 

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