Sears Holdings moved on Thursday to allay fears that it could run low on cash this year, announcing plans to sell stores in transactions that the company says could raise nearly $800 million.
But the deals also highlight the major challenges that Sears faces as it tries to stop a multiyear slump in its operations, analysts said.
Sears may be giving up its most profitable stores in exchange for a quick cash infusion today. In one of the transactions, Sears also expects current shareholders to foot the bill, potentially leaving them more exposed to the troubled retailer.
“As a matter of fact, spinoffs like these could leave Sears with a very unprofitable core Sears U.S. business,” said Mary Ross Gilbert, an analyst with Imperial Capital, a brokerage firm.
These moves come as the company’s largest investor, its chairman, Edward S. Lampert, has been increasing his personal stake in the company. Mr. Lampert engineered the merger of Kmart and Sears, Roebuck, in a $11 billion deal in late 2004, and his hedge funds now own 61 percent of the stock.
The price of Sears shares jumped 18.7 percent on Thursday, to $61.80, even as the company reported weak financial results.
For the year, Sears reported a loss of $3.14 billion, a number that included $2.7 billion of charges, compared with a profit of $133 million for 2010. The fourth quarter had a $2.44 billion loss, compared with a profit of $382 million the previous year.
The company also reported an annual decline in revenue, its fifth in a row. Such trends are a stark reminder that Sears’s problems have deepened since it came under Mr. Lampert’s control.