Sears liquidation would cost Seritage income


A Sears liquidation would cost its real estate spinoff 47 percent of its annual rent income, or about $84 million in cash flow, according to regulatory filings. Seritage Growth Properties, a real estate investment trust, was created in 2015 by Sears Chief Executive Officer Eddie Lampert to be the property owner and landlord for select locations of Sears and its sister chain, Kmart.
As the Sears Holdings Corp. bankruptcy case kicks off in White Plains, New York, this week, the retailer hasn’t reached an agreement with lenders over how many stores — if any — will stay open past the holiday season. The company’s chief financial officer in a court filing pleaded for vendors, employees and other stakeholders to help it reorganize in bankruptcy. About 68,000 jobs are on the line.
Rent from 82 Sears properties brings in $49 million for Seritage, according to a filing. Other property-related expen-ses paid by Sears would push the loss of cash flow to $84 million, the REIT said. Other tenants pay a total of $55 million.
Seritage said in a statement that it’s been steadily trimming its exposure to Sears. It’s been replacing shuttered Sears stores with other retail and, in some cases, residences. The REIT has a wider base of tenants in the pipeline — it expects an additional $72 million from leases beginning in the next 24 months — and historically it’s been able to increase the rent on spaces Sears leaves behind for new tenants.
But signed lease income includes commitments from future tenants, and of current rent revenue, Sears is a more significant portion, according the REIT’s filing. Sears exposure could create short-term pain for Seritage if too many stores shutter before its new tenants start paying.
“It’s such a large chunk,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Lindsay Dutch. “It’s still over 40 percent of their rent.” Seritage didn’t respond to requests
for comment.
Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc., is pursuing a deal to provide more bankruptcy financing, while also discussing buying a portion of the company’s outlets. ESL
declined to comment.

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