Here's the email Sears' CEO just sent to the company announcing layoffs

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Sears laid off 130 employees at its corporate offices on Thursday as the company struggles to stay afloat following a dismal holiday quarter.

Sears CEO Eddie Lampert announced the layoffs in an email sent to corporate employees Thursday afternoon.

He said the job cuts are part of a $1 billion cost-cutting plan that he revealed earlier this month, according to a copy of the email obtained by Business Insider.

"This activity is necessary to create a more nimble operating structure capable of driving the company's strategic transformation forward," Lampert wrote in the email. "We highly value all of our associates and do not take these decisions lightly."

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Sears, which has laid off corporate employees around this time of year for the last several years, had about 4,850 employees and 800 contract workers at its headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois last year, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

On employee message boards, people claiming to work for Sears corporate said there were "lots of tears and people leaving" on Thursday. Many said they saw added security at building entrances.

Employees have been speculating for weeks that layoffs were coming. Nerves flared when one person discovered that more than 30 rooms were simultaneously booked on the Hoffman Estates, Illinois corporate campus for several hours Thursday for so-called "strategy sessions." That information was shared on a message board and led many people to speculate that job losses were on the horizon.

Sears did not respond to requests for comment on the layoffs.

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The best items to buy at Sears
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Vacuums

Best seller: Kenmore 21614 Bagged Canister Vacuum, $269.99

Snow blowers

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Diehard car batteries

Best seller: DieHard Platinum Charger Portable Power 1150, $119.99

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Lampert unveiled a plan for cutting costs earlier this month. He said the company would accrue savings from the closure of 150 Sears and Kmart stores over the next couple of months, among other actions, such as reducing corporate overhead and more closely integrating Sears and Kmart operations.

At the same time, the company revealed that revenue plunged 16% to $6.1 billion for the fourth quarter, which includes the critical holiday season, and net losses widened by up to $635 million from $580 million in the period last year.

Sales at stores open at least a year plunged 10.3%, including an 8% decline at Kmart stores and a 12.3% decline at Sears US stores.

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8 retailers shrinking across America
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8 retailers shrinking across America

The Limited

The women's clothing retailer shut down all 250 of its stores in early January. 

"We're sad to say that all The Limited stores nationwide have officially closed their doors," the company said in an online statement. "But this isn't goodbye. The styles you love are still available online — we're just a quick click away 24 hours a day."

Macy's

Macy's is closing 68 stores and laying off nearly 4,000 employees, beginning in early 2017. Ultimately, the retailer plans to shut down about 100 stores, or 15% of its store base, over the next couple of years.

The retailer has struggled to keep up with the rise of e-commerce. In early February, the Wall Street Journal reported that Macy's had received a takeover offer from Canadian retailer Hudson's Bay.

Sears

Sears plans to shutter 108 Kmart stores and 42 Sears stores by April.

Sears' downward spiral has analysts speculating that the company will file for bankruptcy and some of the brand's suppliers already cutting back on shipments. 

Wet Seal

The struggling teen retailer is closing all 171 of its stores, the company announced in late January. 

The closures come two years after Wet Seal closed 338 of its then-511 stores in January 2015, shortly before the company filed for bankruptcy protection. At the time, Wall Street analysts said that falling foot traffic at shopping malls played a major role in Wet Seal's death spiral.

BCBG

The retailer is shuttering 120 locations, primarily in the US, the Star Tribune reported in early February. Currently, BCBG has 570 locations worldwide, and 175 in the US. 

In January, BCBG told Bloomberg that it would shift its focus away from brick-and-mortar stores, and instead double down on e-commerce and selling the BCBG brand through other retailers. 

In February, Women's Wear Daily reported that the retailer is considering filing for bankruptcy, with a source telling the publication BCBG is "shopping for bankruptcy attorneys."

Bebe

The retailer announced in early February that it planned to shutter up to 25 locations in 2017.

Bebe's sales have been slumping in recent years. In the most recent quarter, the company reported that same-store sales dropped 10.5%, compared the same period a year ago, in which sales declined 2.5%.

Payless

The discount shoe retailer could close as many as 1,000 stores as part of a debt restructuring plan, sources told Bloomberg. Currently, Payless has about 4,400 locations worldwide, including 3,600 in North America.

In January, Reuters reported that Payless was working with attorneys to restructure debt worth roughly $655 million. Later in the month, Payless laid off 165 associates, including 110 employees at the Topeka corporate office, The Topeka-Capital Journal reported. 

American Apparel

The future of American Apparel's stores remains unknown, following the retailer's acquisition by Gildan Activewear Inc.

Gildan did not acquire the chain's 110 locations when it bought the American Apparel brand. If American Apparel doesn't find a buyer, then these stores will likely be shut down. 

While rumors circulated that the brand would be shuttering all locations immediately, the retailer denied these reports. Stores will not close for at least another three months, due to a 100-day license with Gildan, American Apparel spokeswoman Arielle Patrick told Business Insider in mid-January.

American Apparel declined to comment on what would happen after that point. 

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For the full year, revenue is expected to fall 12% from last year to $22.1 billion.

Sears has been shutting stores and selling off assets to stem losses and repay debt, as it suffers a protracted decline in its business. The scale of its losses have analysts speculating that the company could file for bankruptcy and some suppliers cutting back on shipments.

Here's Eddie Lampert's email to employees on Thursday:

Eddie Lampert emailBusiness InsiderEddie Lampert emailBusiness Insider

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