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Up to 120 Sears, Kmarts to close, amid speculation that company may not survive

NEW YORK (AP) - More than 100 Sears and Kmart stores will be shutting their doors for good.

The company that owns the two chains is making the move in order to raise cash after a weak holiday shopping season for the retailer. As many as 120 stores will close.

Tuesday's announcement is fueling speculation about whether Sears, which has a 125-year history, can turn itself around and survive. The company has been struggling with falling sales and shabby stores as rivals like Wal-Mart and Target spruce up their looks and turn into one-stop shopping destinations.

Some industry experts say part of the problem that Sears is facing is that economic difficulties continue to grip its core customers. The middle-income shoppers have seen their wages fail to keep up with higher costs for household basics like food.

But analysts say the bigger issue is that Sears hasn't invested in remodeling, leaving its stores uninviting.

Billionaire investor Edward Lampert bought Kmart out of bankruptcy in 2003, and purchased Sears, Roebuck a year later.


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