Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Months after staving off bankruptcy, more than two dozen Sears and Kmart stores are set to close this October, the stores' parent company said.
Parent company Transform Co. said Wednesday that it was closing 26 large-format Sears and Kmart locations as it has "faced a number of challenges returning our stores to sustainable levels of productivity."
The company cited "a generally weak retail environment" for the closure of the five Kmart and 20 Sears stores.
The embattled Sears has been struggling to stay solvent for years, emerging from bankruptcy in February after a federal court approved the $5.2 billion sale of most of its assets to hedge fund ESL Investments.
Since then, it has been attempting to revitalize its business through becoming a boutique-type chain that launched in May with the opening of its first Sears Home & Life Style locations.
In the Wednesday notice, Transform Co. said it believes the right course of action is "to accelerate the expansion" of these small-format stores by adding new locations.
Transform Co. said liquidation sales are expected to begin around Aug. 15 while any Sears Auto Centers at the closing locations will be shuttered by the end of this month.
"Following these steps, we will continue to evaluate our network of Sears and Kmart stores and cannot rule out additional store closures in the near term," Transform Co. said in a press release. "Our goal remains to return the company to profitability and preserve as many jobs as possible in the communities we serve."
Eligible employees will be offered the same severance package offered prior to the company filing Chapter 11 in October 2018, it said.