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Sears CEO says the fight to restore the struggling retailer will continue

The retailer recently announced a tire deal with Amazon, sending it shares soaring
Sears store
Shares were up slightly in Thursday pre-market trading

Sears Holding Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) CEO Eddie Lampert told investors at the annual shareholders meetings that he will continue fighting to restore the struggling retailer.

During the meeting, Lampert addressed how the company plans to face the challenges of a tough retail environment and transform itself.

The company has been able to reduce its losses, achieving positive adjusted EBITDA in the fourth quarter, and received a US$470mln boost as a result of new tax cuts to bring it to profitability.

“We also continued to right-size our store footprint and divest some real estate, capturing hundreds of millions of dollars in value,” said Lampert in a blog post. The company has sold more than US$500mln worth of real estate.

READ: Sears Auto Centers teams up with Amazon to provide full-service tire installation

In its latest annual report, Sears operated 1,002 stores compared with 1,430 stores in the previous year. Same-store sales fell more than 15%.

The company’s financials have been in decline for years. Last March, Sears issued a “going concern” warning, sparking rumors that Sears may soon file for bankruptcy protection.

Its CEO remains confident that the retailer can strengthen its financial standing.

“I’m invested in Sears Holdings – in every sense of the word. My confidence lies in the commitment of our associates, day in and day out, and the value of the company’s brands, services and convenience,” wrote Lampert.

Sears has been taking some proactive steps, adding partners like Uber and GasBuddy to its Shop Your Way membership platform. The company also introduced a “Lease It” option for customers who don’t qualify for traditional financing.

Sears Auto Centers recently teamed up with Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) to provide full-service tire installation for any brand of tires purchased on Amazon, including its own DieHard brand.

Shares of the Illinois-based company were up less than 1% to US$3.23 in Thursday pre-market trading.

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