Troubled Sears offering to sell Gulf Coast stores

COURTESY PHOTO — Sears Holdings is offering to sell or auction eight Sears or Kmart stores along the Gulf Coast. The Westfield Citrus Park store, shown, will close as part of the chain's downsizing.

In the wake of its October bankruptcy filing and in a bid to avoid liquidation, Sears Holdings Corp. is planning to sell or auction eight of the few remaining Sears and Kmart stores along the Gulf Coast.

The troubled retailer says in documents filed in New York in conjunction with its bankruptcy case that it’s offering to sell Sears stores in the Brandon Town Center; in Fort Myers; Coral Gables; the Westshore Plaza in Tampa; and the Port Charlotte Town Center, in Charlotte County.

A trio of Kmart stores, in St. Petersburg; Bradenton and Ellenton also will be either sold or auctioned.

The company has set a date of Dec. 28 for all “definitive” bids to be submitted. An auction is slated to be held on Jan. 14. Sears Holdings has retained commercial real estate brokerage firm JLL to sort through bids and evaluate their feasibility, and consult on all owned or leased properties.

Sears has closed hundreds of stores nationwide since 2016, including its offerings in the Sarasota Square Mall in Sarasota; University Square in Tampa; and the Countryside Mall, in Clearwater. The company has also shuttered stores in Naples and Lakeland.

Its DeSoto Square Mall store, in Bradenton, is scheduled to be closed at the end of this year, one of 142 stores Sears Holdings announced would not remain open in 2019.

In September, Sears also tapped commercial real estate brokerage Avison Young to sell Sears stores in Tampa’s Westfield Citrus Park, along with units in Port Richey and Daytona.

The brokerage also is marketing for sale a 1.94 million-square-foot distribution center in Ocala Sears owns that is billed as the Sunshine State’s largest building.

Sears Holdings has secured a $350 million line of credit to keep the stores being sold now open through year end, the filing notes.

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