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.
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.
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: