"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."
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.
"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 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 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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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: