United States
Securities and Exchange Commission
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
 
 
 
 
FORM 10-K
 
 
 
 
 
x
Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
For the Fiscal Year Ended February 3, 2018
or
o
Transition Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
Commission file number 000-51217, 001-36693
 
 
 
 
 
SEARS HOLDINGS CORPORATION
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Delaware
 
20-1920798
(State of Incorporation)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
 
 
3333 Beverly Road, Hoffman Estates, Illinois
 
60179
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code: (847) 286-2500
 
 
 
 
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
 
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share
 
The NASDAQ Stock Market
Warrants to Purchase Common Stock
 
The NASDAQ Stock Market
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None
 
 
 
 
 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes  ¨  No  x
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes  ¨  No  x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such response) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes  x  No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes x No  ¨
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the Registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or emerging growth company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer," "smaller reporting company," and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer   ¨  Accelerated filer    x   Non-accelerated filer (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)   ¨   
Smaller reporting company    ¨ Emerging growth company    ¨
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.    ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ¨ No x
On March 16, 2018, the registrant had 107,957,410 shares of common stock outstanding. The aggregate market value (based on the closing price of the Registrant's common stock for stocks quoted on the NASDAQ Global Select Market) of shares of the Registrant's common stock owned by non-affiliates as of the last business day of the Registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was approximately $200 million.
Documents Incorporated By Reference
Part III of this Form 10-K incorporates by reference certain information from the Registrant’s definitive proxy statement relating to our Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held on May 9, 2018 (the "2018 Proxy Statement"), which will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year to which this Form 10-K relates.
 



PART I
Item  1.
Business
General
Sears Holdings Corporation ("Holdings") is the parent company of Kmart Holding Corporation ("Kmart") and Sears, Roebuck and Co. ("Sears"). Holdings (together with its subsidiaries, "we," "us," "our," or the "Company") was formed as a Delaware corporation in 2004 in connection with the merger of Kmart and Sears (the "Merger") on March 24, 2005. We are an integrated retailer with significant physical and intangible assets, as well as virtual capabilities enabled through technology. At February 3, 2018, we operated a national network of stores with 1,002 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States operating through Kmart and Sears. Further, we operate a number of websites under the sears.com and kmart.com banners which offer millions of products and provide the capability for our members and customers to engage in cross-channel transactions such as free store pickup; buy in store/ship to home; and buy online, return in store.
We are also the home of Shop Your Way®, a free membership program that connects its members to personalized products, programs and partners that help them save time and money every day. Through an extensive network of national and local partners, members can shop thousands of their favorite brands, dine out and access an array of exclusive partners like Uber® and fuboTV® to earn CASHBACK in points to redeem for savings on future purchases at Sears, Kmart, Lands' End and at ShopYourWay.com. The Sears MasterCard with Shop Your Way® features an industry-leading 5-3-2-1 rewards offer, where members can earn rewards points on all purchases everywhere they shop.
The Company is a leading home appliance retailer, as well as a leader in tools, lawn and garden, fitness equipment, automotive repair and maintenance, and is a significant player in the rapidly emerging connected solutions market. We offer key proprietary brands including Kenmore® and DieHard®, as well as Craftsman® branded product offerings. Our Kenmore and DieHard brands are also now available on Amazon.com. We also maintain a broad apparel and home offering including such well-known labels as Jaclyn Smith®, Joe Boxer®, Route 66®, Cannon®, Adam Levine® and Levi's® and also offer Lands' End® merchandise in some of our Full-line stores. We are the nation's No. 1 provider of appliance and product repair services, with over five million service calls made annually.
The retail industry is changing rapidly. The progression of the Internet, mobile technology, social networking and social media is fundamentally reshaping the way we interact with our core customers and members. As a result, we are transitioning to a member-centric company. Our focus continues to be on our core customers, our members, and finding ways to provide them value and convenience through Integrated Retail and our Shop Your Way membership platform. We have invested significantly in our membership program, our online ecommerce platforms and the technology needed to support these initiatives.
Business Segments
We operate in two reportable segments, Kmart and Sears Domestic. Financial information, including revenues, operating loss, total assets and capital expenditures for each of these business segments is contained in Note 17 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements. Information regarding the components of revenue for Holdings is included in Item 7, Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations as well as Note 17 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Kmart     
At February 3, 2018, the Company operated a total of 432 Kmart stores across 47 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This store count consists of 431 discount stores, averaging 94,000 square feet, and one Super Center, approximately 185,000 square feet. Most Kmart stores are one-floor, free-standing units that carry a wide array of products across many merchandise categories, including consumer electronics, seasonal merchandise, outdoor living, toys, lawn and garden equipment, food and consumables and apparel, including products sold under such well-known labels as Craftsman, Jaclyn Smith, Adam Levine, Joe Boxer, Basic Editions and certain proprietary Sears branded products (such as Kenmore and DieHard) and services. We also offer an assortment of major

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appliances, including Kenmore-branded products, in all of our locations. There are 183 Kmart stores that also operate in-store pharmacies. The Super Center combines a full-service grocery along with the merchandise selection of a discount store. There are also three Sears Auto Centers operating in Kmart stores, offering a variety of professional automotive repair and maintenance services, as well as a full assortment of automotive accessories. Kmart offers a layaway program, which allows members and customers to cost-effectively finance their purchases both in-store and online. In addition, our members and customers have the ability to buy online and pick up in store via mygofer.com, kmart.com or shopyourway.com. Kmart also sells its products through its kmart.com website and provides members and customers enhanced cross-channel options such as buying through a mobile app or online and picking up merchandise in one of our Kmart or Sears Full-line stores.
Sears Domestic
At February 3, 2018, Sears Domestic operations consisted of the following:
Full-line Stores—547 stores located across 49 states and Puerto Rico, primarily mall-based locations averaging 159,000 square feet. Full-line stores offer a wide array of products and service offerings across many merchandise categories, including appliances, consumer electronics/connected solutions, tools, sporting goods, outdoor living, lawn and garden equipment, certain automotive services and products, such as tires and batteries, home fashion products, as well as apparel, footwear, jewelry and accessories for the whole family. Our product offerings include our proprietary Kenmore, DieHard, WallyHome, Bongo, Covington, Simply Styled, Everlast, Metaphor, Roebuck & Co., Outdoor Life and Structure brand merchandise, and other brand merchandise such as Craftsman, Roadhandler and Levi's. Lands' End, Inc. continues to operate 151 "store within a store" departments inside Sears Domestic Full-line locations. We also have 423 Sears Auto Centers operating in association with Full-line stores. In addition, there are 19 free-standing Auto Centers that operate independently of Full-line stores. Sears extends the availability of its product selection through the use of its sears.com and shopyourway.com websites, which offer an assortment of home, apparel and accessory merchandise and provide members and customers the option of buying through a mobile app or online and picking up their merchandise in one of our Sears Full-line or Kmart stores.
Specialty Stores—23 specialty stores (primarily consisting of the 19 free-standing Auto Centers noted above) located in free-standing, off-mall locations or high-traffic neighborhood shopping centers, including three DieHard Auto Centers - two in Detroit and one in San Antonio. Specialty stores also include Sears Appliances and Mattresses stores in Ft. Collins, Colorado, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, Pharr, Texas and Honolulu, Hawaii.
Commercial Sales—We sell Kenmore appliances to home builders and property managers through Kenmore Direct, the business-to-business sales organization of KCD Brands. Kenmore Direct operates using a number of sales channels including an Amazon Business sales account. We also sell a wide assortment of appliance brands including luxury brands, parts and services to builders, developers, designers, among other commercial and residential customers through Monark Premium Appliance Co., which includes California Builder Appliances, Inc. (d/b/a Monark Premium Appliance Co. of California), Florida Builder Appliances, Inc.  (d/b/a Monark Premium Appliance Co.) and Starwest, LLC. (d/b/a Monark Premium Appliance Co. of Arizona).
Home Services—Product Repair Services, the nation's No. 1 provider of appliance and product repair services, is a key element in our active relationship with nearly 30 million households. With approximately 5,200 service technicians making over five million service calls annually, this business delivers a broad range of retail-related residential and commercial services across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands under either the Sears Parts & Repair Services or A&E Factory Service trade names. Commercial and residential customers can obtain parts and repair services for all major brands of products within the appliances, lawn and garden equipment, consumer electronics, floor care products, and heating and cooling systems categories. We also provide repair parts with supporting instructions for "do-it-yourself" members and customers through our searspartsdirect.com website. This business also offers protection agreements, home warranties and Kenmore and Carrier brand residential heating and cooling systems. Home Services also includes home improvement services (primarily siding, windows, cabinet refacing, kitchen remodeling, roofing, carpet and upholstery cleaning, air duct

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cleaning, and garage door installation and repair) provided through Sears Home Improvement and Sears Home & Business Franchises.
Delivery and Installation—Provides both home delivery and retail installation services for Holdings' retail operations with over three million deliveries and installation calls made annually. Also includes Innovel Solutions, which provides delivery services for third party customers.
Real Estate Transactions
In the normal course of business, we consider opportunities to purchase leased operating properties, as well as offers to sell owned, or assign leased, operating and non-operating properties. These transactions may, individually or in the aggregate, result in material proceeds or outlays of cash. In addition, we review leases that will expire in the short term in order to determine the appropriate action to take.
Further information concerning our real estate transactions is contained in Note 11 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
 Trademarks and Trade Names
The KMART® and SEARS® trade names, service marks and trademarks, used by us both in the United States and internationally, are material to our retail and other related businesses.
We sell proprietary branded merchandise under a number of brand names that are important to our operations. Our KENMORE® and DIEHARD® brands are among the most recognized proprietary brands in retailing. These marks are the subject of numerous United States and foreign trademark registrations. Other well recognized Company trademarks and service marks include ATHLETECH®, BLUELIGHT®, COVINGTON®, ROEBUCK & CO.®, SHOP YOUR WAY®, SMART SENSE®, STRUCTURE®, THOM MCAN®, and WALLY®, which also are registered or are the subject of pending registration applications in the United States. Generally, our rights in our trade names and marks continue so long as we use them.
Seasonality
The retail business is seasonal in nature, and we generate a high proportion of our revenues, operating income and operating cash flows during the fourth quarter of our year, which includes the holiday season. As a result, our overall profitability is heavily impacted by our fourth quarter operating results. Additionally, in preparation for the fourth quarter holiday season, we significantly increase our merchandise inventory levels, which are financed from operating cash flows, credit terms received from vendors and borrowings under our domestic credit agreement (described in the "Uses and Sources of Liquidity" section below). Fourth quarter reported revenues accounted for approximately 26% of total reported revenues in 2017, 27% of total reported revenues in 2016 and 29% of total reported revenues in 2015. See Note 19 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further information on revenues earned by quarter in 2017 and 2016.
Competition
Our business is subject to highly competitive conditions. We compete with a wide variety of retailers, including other department stores, discounters, home improvement stores, consumer electronics dealers, auto service providers, specialty retailers, wholesale clubs, as well as many other retailers operating on a national, regional or local level in the United States. Online and catalog businesses, which handle similar lines of merchandise, also compete with us. Walmart, Target, Kohl's, J.C. Penney, Macy's, The Home Depot, Lowe's, Best Buy and Amazon are some of the national retailers and businesses with which we compete. The Home Depot and Lowe's are major competitors in relation to our home appliance business, which accounted for approximately 16% of our 2017, 15% of our 2016 and 15% of our 2015 reported revenues. Success in these competitive marketplaces is based on factors such as price, product assortment and quality, service and convenience, including availability of retail-related services such as access to credit, product delivery, repair and installation. Additionally, we are influenced by a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the cost of goods, consumer debt availability and buying patterns, economic conditions, customer preferences, inflation, currency exchange fluctuations, weather patterns, and

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catastrophic events. Item 1A in this Annual Report on Form 10-K contains further information regarding risks to our business.
Employees
At February 3, 2018, subsidiaries of Holdings had approximately 89,000 employees in the United States and U.S. territories. This employee count includes part-time employees.
 Our Website; Availability of SEC Reports and Other Information
Our corporate website is located at searsholdings.com. Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to these reports are available, free of charge, through the "SEC Filings" portion of the Investors Home section of our website as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC").
The Corporate Governance Guidelines of our Board of Directors, the charters of the Audit, Compensation and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees of the Board of Directors, our Code of Conduct and the Board of Directors Code of Conduct are available in the "Corporate Governance" portion of the Investors Home section of searsholdings.com. References to our website address do not constitute incorporation by reference of the information contained on such website, and the information contained on the website is not part of this document.

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Item 1A.
Risk Factors
Our operations and financial results are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including those described below, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We cannot predict whether our plans to enhance our financial flexibility and liquidity to fund our transformation will be successful.
We are continuing to pursue a transformation strategy and to explore potential initiatives to enhance our financial flexibility and liquidity. We have incurred significant losses and experienced negative operating cash flows for the past several years, and accordingly we have taken a number of actions to fund our continued transformation and meet our obligations, including: the amendment and extension of our revolving credit facility; the extension of our first lien term loan facility from June 2018 to January 2019 (with a right on our part to further extend such maturity, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, to July 2019); the entrance into the first lien term loan facility due 2020, the second lien term loan facility due 2020 and the second lien line of credit loan facility due 2020, the amendment of the senior secured letter of credit facility; the extension of our real estate term loan facility from July 2017 to July 2018; the entrance into the real estate term loan facility due 2020, the incremental real estate term loan facility due 2018 and the intellectual property/ground lease term loan facility due 2020; the private exchange offers relating to our senior secured notes and senior unsecured notes, the negotiated exchanges of other indebtedness; the entrance into the REMIC real estate term loan facility due December 2018 and the REMIC mezzanine loan facility due 2020; the sale of the Craftsman brand; the rights offering and sale-leaseback transaction with Seritage Growth Properties; the separation of our Lands' End subsidiary; the Sears Canada rights offering; the rights offering for senior unsecured notes with warrants; and various real estate transactions. As a result, we are, and we expect to continue to be, highly leveraged. We expect to pursue other near-term actions to bolster liquidity. If we continue to incur losses, additional actions may be required to further enhance our financial flexibility and liquidity. The success of our initiatives is subject to risks and uncertainties with respect to market conditions and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from our plans. We cannot assure that cash flows and other internal and external sources of liquidity will at all times be sufficient for our cash requirements. If necessary, we may need to consider further actions and steps to improve our cash position, mitigate any potential liquidity shortfall, pursue additional sources of liquidity, and reduce costs. There can be no assurance that these actions would be successful. Any refinancing of our debt could be at higher interest rates and may require us to comply with more onerous covenants, which could further restrict our business operations. In addition, there can be no assurance that the evaluation and/or completion of any potential transactions will not have a negative impact on our other businesses.
We cannot predict the outcome of any actions to generate liquidity, whether such actions would generate the expected liquidity as currently planned, or the availability of additional debt financing. The specific actions taken or assets involved, the timing, and the overall amount will depend on a variety of factors, including market conditions, interest in specific assets, valuations of those assets and our underlying operating performance.
If we continue to experience operating losses and we are not able to generate additional liquidity through the mechanisms described above or through some combination of other actions, including real estate or other asset sales, while not expected, then our liquidity needs may exceed availability under our Amended Domestic Credit Agreement, our second lien line of credit loan facility and our other existing facilities, and we might need to secure additional sources of funds, which may or may not be available to us. If we are unable to secure such additional funds, we may not be able to meet our obligations as they become due. Additionally, a failure to generate additional liquidity could negatively impact our access to inventory or services that are important to the operation of our business.
Certain factors, including changes in market conditions and our credit ratings, may continue to limit our access to capital markets and other financing sources and materially increase our borrowing costs.
In addition to credit terms from vendors, our liquidity needs are funded by our operating cash flows and borrowings under our credit agreements and commercial paper program, asset sales and access to capital markets. The availability of financing depends on numerous factors, including economic and market conditions, our operating performance, our credit ratings, and lenders' assessments of our prospects and the prospects of the retail industry in

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general. Changes in these factors may affect our cost of financing, liquidity and our ability to access financing sources, including our commercial paper program and possible second lien indebtedness that is permitted under the domestic revolving credit facility, with respect to each of which we have no lender commitments. Rating agencies revise their ratings for the companies that they follow from time to time. Several ratings agencies have previously downgraded the credit rating on certain of our outstanding debt instruments and may further downgrade or otherwise revise such ratings in the future. In addition, our ratings may be withdrawn in their entirety at any time.
The Company's domestic credit facility currently provides up to $2.5 billion of lender commitments, $1.5 billion of which are revolving commitments. Our ability to borrow funds under this facility is limited by a borrowing base determined by the value, from time to time, of eligible inventory and certain accounts receivable. The value of these eligible assets has not always been sufficient to support borrowings of up to the full amount of the commitments under this facility, and we have not always had full access to the facility, but rather have had access to a lesser amount determined by the borrowing base. A decline in the value of eligible assets has also resulted in our inability to borrow up to the full amount of second lien indebtedness permitted by the domestic credit facility as our second-lien borrowings are limited by a borrowing base requirement under the indenture that governs our senior secured notes due 2018. The domestic revolving credit facility imposes various other requirements, which take effect if availability falls below designated thresholds, including a cash dominion requirement. The domestic credit facility also effectively limits full access to the facility if our fixed charge ratio at the last day of any fiscal month is less than 1.0 to 1.0. As of February 3, 2018, our fixed charge ratio continues to be less than 1.0 to 1.0. If availability under the domestic revolving credit facility were to fall below 10%, the Company would be required to test the fixed charge coverage ratio, and would not comply with the facility, and the lenders under the facility could demand immediate payment in full of all amounts outstanding and terminate their obligations under the facility. In addition, the domestic credit facility provides that in the event we make certain prepayments of indebtedness, for a period of one year thereafter we must maintain availability under the facility of at least 12.5%, and it prohibits certain other prepayments of indebtedness. Moreover, if the borrowing base (as calculated pursuant to the indenture relating to our 6 5/8% senior secured notes due 2019, which were issued in March 2018 (the "New Senior Secured Notes")) falls below the principal amount of the New Senior Secured Notes plus the principal amount of any other indebtedness for borrowed money that is secured by liens on the collateral for the New Senior Secured Notes on the last day of any two consecutive quarters beginning with the second quarter of our 2018 fiscal year, it could trigger an obligation to offer to repurchase all outstanding New Senior Secured Notes at a purchase price equal to 101% of the principal amount, plus accrued and unpaid interest.
The lenders under our various credit facilities may not be able to meet their commitments if they experience shortages of capital and liquidity. Disruptions or turmoil in the financial markets could reduce our ability to meet our capital requirements. There can be no assurance that our ability to otherwise access the credit markets will not be adversely affected by changes in the financial markets and the global economy.
Our business results and ability to fund our transformation depend on our ability to achieve cost savings initiatives and complete our previously announced restructuring program.
In 2017, we initiated a restructuring program targeted to deliver at least $1.25 billion in annualized cost savings. Under the restructuring program, we reduced our corporate overhead, more closely integrated our Sears and Kmart operations and improved our merchandising, supply chain and inventory management. The savings also included cost reductions resulting from the closure of 303 Kmart and 132 Sears stores. In January 2018, we identified an additional $200 million of cost savings, unrelated to store closings. However, if we are unable to deliver the additional cost reductions, while continuing to invest in business growth, our financial results could be adversely impacted. Our ability to successfully manage and execute these initiatives and realize expected savings and benefits in the amounts and at the times anticipated is important to our business success, and any failure to do so, which could result from our inability to successfully execute plans, changes in global or regional economic conditions, competition, changes in the industries in which we compete, unanticipated costs or charges and other factors described herein, could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. As part of our overhead reduction, we have reduced our corporate and operations headcount, including management level, distribution and field employees. These reductions, as well as employee attrition, could result in the potential loss of specific knowledge relating to our company, operations and industry that could be difficult to replace. Also, we now operate with fewer employees, who have assumed additional duties and responsibilities. The restructuring program and workforce changes may negatively impact communication, morale, management cohesiveness and effective

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decision-making, which could have an adverse impact on our business operations, customer experience, sales and results of operations.
The lack of willingness of our vendors to do business with us or to provide acceptable payment terms could negatively impact our liquidity and/or reduce the availability of products or services we seek to procure.
We depend on our vendors to provide us with financing on our purchases of inventory and services. From time to time, certain of our vendors have sought to limit the availability of vendor credit to us or to modify the other terms under which they sell to us, or both, which has negatively impacted our liquidity. In addition, the inability of vendors to access liquidity, or the insolvency of vendors, could lead to their failure to deliver inventory or other services. Certain of our vendors finance their operations and/or reduce the risk associated with collecting accounts receivable from us by selling or "factoring" the receivables or by purchasing credit insurance or other forms of protection from loss associated with our credit risks. The ability of our vendors to do so is subject to the perceived credit quality of the Company. Such vendors could be limited in their ability to factor receivables or obtain credit protection in the future because of our perceived financial position and creditworthiness, which could reduce the availability of products or services we seek to procure, increase the cost to us of those products and services, or both.
We have ongoing discussions concerning our liquidity and financial position with the vendor community and third parties that offer various credit protection services to our vendors. The topics discussed have included such areas as pricing, payment terms and ongoing business arrangements. As of the date of this report, we have not experienced any significant disruption in our access to merchandise or our operations due to vendors slowing or ceasing merchandise shipments or requiring or conditioning the sale or shipment of merchandise on new payment terms or other assurances. However, there can be no assurances that there will not be a future disruption, and such circumstances could have a negative effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If we are unable to compete effectively in the highly competitive retail industry, our business and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
The retail industry is highly competitive with few barriers to entry. We compete with a wide variety of retailers, including other department stores, discounters, home improvement stores, appliances and consumer electronics retailers, auto service providers, specialty retailers, wholesale clubs, online and catalog retailers and many other competitors operating on a national, regional or local level. Some of our competitors are actively engaged in new store expansion or increasing their online presence. Online and catalog businesses, which handle similar lines of merchandise, and some of which are not required to collect sales taxes on purchases made by their customers, also compete with us. Competition may intensify as competitors enter into business combinations or alliances. We also experience significant competition from promotional activities of our competitors, and some competitors may be able to devote greater resources to sourcing, promoting and selling their products. In this competitive marketplace, success is based on factors such as price, advertising, product assortment, quality, service, reputation and convenience.
Our success depends on our ability to differentiate ourselves from our competitors with respect to shopping convenience, a quality assortment of available merchandise, functionality of digital channels, and superior customer service and experience. We must also successfully respond to our members' and customers' changing tastes and expectations. The performance of our competitors, as well as changes in their pricing policies, marketing activities, new store openings, online presence, use of purchasing data and other business strategies, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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If we fail to offer merchandise and services that our members and customers want, our sales may be limited, which would reduce our revenues and profits.
In order for our business to be successful, we must identify, obtain supplies of, and offer to our members and customers, attractive, innovative and high-quality merchandise. Our products and services must satisfy the desires of our members and customers, whose preferences may change in the future. Our sales and operating results depend in part on our ability to predict consumer demand for products and services we sell, availability of merchandise, product trends, and our members' and customers' purchasing habits, tastes and preferences. If we misjudge these predictions, our relationship with our members and customers may be negatively impacted, and we may be faced with excess inventories of some products, which may impact our sales or require us to sell the merchandise we have obtained at lower prices, and missed opportunities for products and services we chose not to offer. In addition, merchandise misjudgments may adversely impact the perception or reputation of our company, which could result in declines in member and customer loyalty and vendor relationships. These factors could have a negative effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If our integrated retail strategy to transform into a member-centric retailer is not successful, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.
We are seeking to transform into a member-centric retailer through our integrated retail strategy, which is based on a number of initiatives, including our Shop Your Way program, that depend on, among other things, our ability to respond quickly to ongoing technology developments and implement new ways to understand and rely on the data to interact with our members and customers and our ability to provide attractive, convenient and consistent online and mobile experiences for our members. We must anticipate and meet our members' and customers' evolving expectations, while counteracting developments by our competitors and striving to deliver a seamless experience across all of our sales channels. We may need to adjust our strategic initiatives depending on our members' and customers' reactions to and level of engagement with our initiatives. Failure to execute these initiatives or provide our members with positive experiences may result in a loss of active members, failure to attract new members and lower than anticipated sales. There is no assurance that our initiatives and strategies will improve our operating results.
If we do not successfully manage our inventory levels, our operating results will be adversely affected.
We must maintain sufficient inventory levels to operate our business successfully. However, we also must guard against accumulating excess inventory as we seek to minimize out-of-stock levels across all product categories and to maintain in-stock levels. We obtain a significant portion of our inventory from vendors located outside the United States. Some of these vendors require lengthy advance notice of our requirements in order to be able to supply products in the quantities we request. This usually requires us to order merchandise, and enter into purchase order contracts for the purchase and manufacture of such merchandise, well in advance of the time these products will be offered for sale. As a result, we may experience difficulty in responding quickly to a changing retail environment, which makes us vulnerable to changes in price and demand. If we do not accurately anticipate the future demand for a particular product or the time it will take to obtain new inventory, our inventory levels will not be appropriate and our results of operations may be negatively impacted.
Our business has been and will continue to be affected by worldwide economic conditions; an economic downturn, a renewed decline in consumer-spending levels and other conditions, including inflation and changing prices of energy, could lead to reduced revenues and gross margins, and negatively impact our liquidity.
Many economic and other factors are outside of our control, including consumer and commercial credit availability, consumer confidence and spending levels, as well as the impact of payroll tax and medical cost increases on U.S. consumers, recession, inflation, deflation, employment levels, housing sales and remodels, interest rates, tax rates, rates of economic growth, fiscal and monetary government policies, consumer debt levels, consumer debt payment behaviors, fuel costs and other challenges currently affecting the global economy, the full impact of which on our business, results of operations and financial condition cannot be predicted with certainty. These economic conditions adversely affect the disposable income levels of, and the credit available to, our members and customers, which could lead to reduced demand for our merchandise. Increases in fuel and energy costs may have a

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significant impact on our operations. We require significant quantities of fuel for the vehicles used by technicians in our home services business, and we are exposed to the risk associated with variations in the market price for petroleum products. We could experience a disruption in energy supplies, including our supply of gasoline, as a result of factors that are beyond our control, which could have an adverse effect on our business. Certain of our vendors also could experience increases in the cost of various raw materials, such as cotton, oil-related materials, steel and rubber, which could result in increases in the prices that we pay for merchandise, particularly apparel, appliances and tires. Domestic and international political events also affect consumer confidence. The threat, outbreak or escalation of terrorism, civil unrest, military conflicts or other hostilities could lead to a decrease in consumer spending. Any of these events and conditions could inhibit sales or cause us to increase inventory markdowns and promotional expenses, thereby reducing our gross margins.
Failure to execute effective advertising efforts may adversely impact our financial performance.
Effective advertising and marketing efforts play a crucial role in maintaining high customer traffic both in store and online. We are focused on developing new marketing initiatives and maintaining effective promotional strategies that target further growth in our business. Failure to execute effective advertising efforts to attract new customers or retain existing customers may adversely impact our financial performance.
Our business results may be negatively impacted as a result of the recapture rights included in the Master Leases in connection with the Seritage transaction and JV transactions.
In 2015, we entered into various sale-lease back transactions with respect to certain of our real properties with Seritage Growth Properties ("Seritage") and certain joint ventures we formed with affiliates of Simon Property Group, Inc., General Growth Properties, Inc. and the Macerich Company (collectively, the "JVs"). In connection with the Seritage transaction and JV transactions, Holdings entered into agreements with Seritage and the JVs pursuant to which Holdings leased 255 of the properties (the "Master Leases"). The Master Leases include recapture provisions that allow Seritage or the JVs, as applicable, to reclaim approximately 50% of the space within these properties (subject to certain exceptions, including reclamation rights as to 100% of the space at 21 properties, and further subject to a lease termination payment by Seritage), in addition to all of the automotive care centers which are free-standing or attached as "appendages," and all outparcels or outlots, as well as certain portions of parking areas and common areas. While we believe these provisions are generally beneficial for Holdings as they facilitate the transformation of our physical stores, potentially enable us to rationalize our footprint by reducing the space we occupy in a given location, and provide us with substantial flexibility in how we manage our store network moving forward, if we are unable to successfully manage and execute our plans to operate our stores in the smaller footprint, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely impacted. Additionally, the recapture rights are within the control of Seritage and the JVs and we cannot predict the timing on which the recapture rights may be exercised, if at all, or whether the timing of any such exercise of these rights will align well with the timing of our transformation, which could create disruptions in our operations.
Potential liabilities in connection with the separations of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores and Lands' End or other asset transactions may arise under fraudulent conveyance and transfer laws and legal capital requirements.
With respect to the separations of our Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores and Lands' End, Inc. subsidiaries, the sale of real estate assets to real estate investment trusts and other third parties, the sale of the Craftsman brand, and any future dispositions of other similar assets, if the Company, Lands' End, or any asset purchaser subsequently fails to pay its creditors or enters insolvency proceedings, the transaction may be challenged under U.S. federal, U.S. state and foreign fraudulent conveyance and transfer laws, as well as legal capital requirements governing distributions and similar transactions. If a court were to determine under these laws that, (a) at the time of the transaction, the entity in question: (1) was insolvent; (2) was rendered insolvent by reason of the transaction; (3) had remaining assets constituting unreasonably small capital; (4) intended to incur, or believed it would incur, debts beyond its ability to pay these debts as they matured; or (b) the transaction in question failed to satisfy applicable legal capital requirements, the court could determine that the transaction was voidable, in whole or in part. Subject to various defenses, the court could then require the Company, Lands' End, the respective purchaser, or other recipients of value in connection with any such transaction, as the case may be, to turn over value to other entities

10


involved in the transaction and contemplated transactions for the benefit of unpaid creditors. The measure of insolvency and applicable legal capital requirements will vary depending upon the jurisdiction whose law is being applied.

Certain dividend payments received by us from Sears Canada Inc., and other transactions involving Sears Canada Inc., may be subject to challenge.
In 2012 and 2013, we received dividend payments from our former subsidiary, Sears Canada Inc. ("Sears Canada") in the aggregate amount of $295 million. The payments of these dividends by Sears Canada, as well as "the surrender by Sears Canada of its exclusive right to use the Craftsman trademark in Canada in connection with the sale by Holdings of the Craftsman business to Stanley Black & Decker in March 2017," have been identified by the court-appointed monitor for Sears Canada in connection with its bankruptcy liquidation as potential "transactions of interest" subject to review. In addition, the Canadian bankruptcy court has appointed a litigation advisor to investigate and potentially recommend claims relating to dividend payments made by Sears Canada. In the event that a court of competent jurisdiction were to determine that any dividend payments made by, or other transactions involving, Sears Canada were subject to recapture, we could suffer financial liability, which could have a materially adverse impact on our liquidity or financial condition.
We rely extensively on computer systems to implement our integrated retail strategy, process transactions, summarize results and otherwise manage our business. Disruptions in these systems could harm our ability to run our business.
Given the significance of our online and mobile capabilities, our collection and use of data to create personalized experiences, and the number of individual transactions we have each year, including in our stores, it is critical that we maintain uninterrupted operation of our computer and communications hardware and software systems, some of which are based on end-of-life or legacy technology, operate with minimal or no vendor support and are otherwise difficult to maintain. Our systems are subject to damage or interruption from power outages, computer and telecommunications failures, computer viruses, worms, other malicious computer programs, denial-of-service attacks, security breaches, catastrophic events such as fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, acts of terrorism and usage errors by our employees. If our systems are damaged, breached or cease to function properly, we may have to make a significant investment to repair or replace them, and we may suffer loss of critical data and interruptions or delays in our operations. Operating legacy systems subjects us to inherent costs and risks associated with maintaining, upgrading and replacing these systems and retaining sufficiently skilled personnel to maintain and operate the systems, demands on management time, and other risks and costs. Any material interruption in our computer operations may have a material adverse effect on our business or results of operations, including on our Shop Your Way program and participation in or engagement with that program. We are pursuing initiatives to transform our information technology processes and systems. These initiatives are highly complex and include replacing legacy systems, upgrading existing systems, and acquiring new systems and hardware with updated functionality. The risk of disruption is increased in periods when such complex and significant systems changes are undertaken.
If we do not maintain the security of our member and customer, associate or company information, we could damage our reputation, incur substantial additional costs and become subject to litigation.
The protection of member, customer, employee, and company data is critical to the Company. We have systems and processes in place that are designed to protect information and protect against security and data breaches as well as fraudulent transactions and other activities. Nevertheless, cyber-security risks such as malicious software and attempts to gain unauthorized access to data are rapidly evolving and becoming increasingly sophisticated. Techniques or software used to gain unauthorized access, and/or disable, degrade or harm our systems may be difficult to detect or scope for prolonged periods of time, and we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or put in place protective or preventive measures. These attempts to gain unauthorized access could lead to disruptions in our systems, unauthorized release of confidential or otherwise protected information or corruption of data. If individuals are successful in infiltrating, breaking into, disrupting, damaging or otherwise stealing from the computer systems of the Company or its third-party providers we may have to make a significant investment to fix or replace them, we may suffer interruptions in our operations in the interim, we may face costly litigation,

11


government investigations, government enforcement actions, fines and/or lawsuits, the ability for our members to earn or redeem points in our Shop Your Way program may be impacted or halted, and our reputation with our members and customers may be significantly harmed. There is no guarantee that the procedures that we have implemented to protect against unauthorized access to secured data are adequate to safeguard against all data security breaches. A data security breach or any failure by us to comply with applicable privacy and information security laws and regulations could result in a loss of customer or member confidence and negatively impact our business, including our Shop Your Way program, and our results of operations. Moreover, a data security breach could require us to devote significant management resources to address the problems created by the breach and to expend significant additional resources to upgrade further the security measures that we employ to guard against such breaches, which could disrupt our business, operations and financial condition.
We are subject to payment-related risks that could increase our operating costs, expose us to fraud or theft, subject us to potential liability and potentially disrupt our business operations.
As a retailer that accepts payments using a variety of methods, including credit and debit cards, PayPal, and gift cards, the Company is subject to rules, regulations, contractual obligations and compliance requirements, including payment network rules and operating guidelines, data security standards and certification requirements, and rules governing electronic funds transfers. The regulatory environment related to information security and privacy is increasingly rigorous, with new and constantly changing requirements applicable to our business, and compliance with those requirements could result in additional costs or accelerate these costs. For certain payment methods, including credit and debit cards, we pay interchange and other fees, which could increase over time and raise our operating costs. We rely on third parties to provide payment processing services, including the processing of credit cards, debit cards, and other forms of electronic payment. If these companies become unable to provide these services to us, or if their systems are compromised, it could disrupt our business.
The Payment Card Industry ("PCI") has established standards for securing payment card data through the PCI Data Security Standards ("DSS"). The Company is required to conduct an annual assessment with a PCI Qualified Security Assessor to assess compliance with the PCI DSS. Based on the 2016 assessment, the Company was determined to be non-compliant with PCI DSS. For 2017, we delivered 6 out of 7 compliant reports for PCI. The only outstanding report for automotive is to be delivered in the first quarter of 2018 as has been agreed upon with the relevant processor and card brands. While the Company took corrective actions which allowed it to regain compliance with PCI DSS, there can be no assurance that the Company will achieve compliance in the future. A failure to achieve compliance with PCI DSS could result in the incurrence of fines, penalties or other liabilities by the Company.
Due to the seasonality of our business, our annual operating results would be adversely affected to a heightened degree if our business performs poorly in the fourth quarter.
Due to the seasonality of our business, our operating results vary considerably from quarter to quarter. We generate a high proportion of revenues, operating income and operating cash flows during the fourth quarter of our year, which includes the holiday season. In addition, our Company incurs significant additional expenses for inventory, advertising and employees in the period leading up to the months of November and December in anticipation of higher sales volume in the fourth quarter. As a result, our fourth quarter operating results significantly impact our annual operating results. Our fourth quarter operating results may fluctuate significantly, based on many factors, including holiday spending patterns and weather conditions.
Our sales may fluctuate for a variety of reasons, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
Our business is sensitive to customers' spending patterns, which in turn are subject to prevailing economic conditions. Our sales and results of operations have fluctuated in the past, and we expect them to continue to fluctuate in the future. A variety of other factors affect our sales and financial performance, including:
actions by our competitors, including opening of new stores in our existing markets or changes to the way these competitors go to market online;
our ability to integrate and deliver an attractive online retail experience;
seasonal fluctuations due to weather conditions;
changes in our merchandise strategy and mix;

12


changes in population and other demographics; and
timing of our promotional events.
Accordingly, our results for any one quarter are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected for any other quarter, and comparable store sales for any particular future period may increase or decrease. For more information on our results of operations, see Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We rely on foreign sources for significant amounts of our merchandise, and our business may therefore be negatively affected by the risks associated with international trade.
We depend on a large number of products produced in foreign markets. We face risks, including reputational risks, associated with sourcing, purchasing, and the delivery of merchandise originating outside the United States, including:
potential economic and political instability in countries where our suppliers are located;
increases in shipping costs;
manufacturing and transportation delays and interruptions, including without limitation, delays and interruptions resulting from labor slowdowns, strikes, or other disruptions at any port where merchandise we purchase enters the U.S.;
the availability of raw materials to suppliers;
supplier financial instability;
supplier compliance with applicable laws, including labor and environmental laws, and with our global compliance program for suppliers and factories;
merchandise safety and quality issues, adverse fluctuations in currency exchange rates; and
changes in U.S. and foreign laws affecting the importation and taxation of goods, including duties, tariffs and quotas, or changes in the enforcement of those laws.
U.S. foreign trade policies, trade restrictions, other impositions on imported goods, trade sanctions imposed on certain countries, the limitation on the importation of certain types of goods or of goods containing certain materials from other countries, and other factors relating to foreign trade are beyond our control. These and other factors affecting our suppliers and our access to products could adversely affect our results of operations.
We rely on third parties to provide us with services in connection with the administration of certain aspects of our business.
We have entered into agreements with third-party service providers (both domestic and overseas) to provide processing and administrative functions over a broad range of areas, and we may continue to do so in the future. These areas include finance and accounting, information technology, including IT development, call center, human resources and procurement functions. Services provided by third parties could be interrupted as a result of many factors, such as acts of God or contract disputes, and any failure by third parties to provide us with these services on a timely basis or within our service level expectations and performance standards could result in a disruption of our business. In addition, to the extent we are unable to maintain our outsourcing arrangements, we could incur substantial costs, including costs associated with hiring new employees or finding an alternative outsourced solution. Moreover, the Company cannot make any assurances that it would be able to arrange for alternate or replacement outsourcing arrangements on terms as favorable as the Company’s existing agreements, if at all. Any inability on the part of the Company to do so could negatively affect our results of operations. These outsourcing arrangements also carry the risk that the Company will fail to adequately retain the significant internal historical knowledge of our business and systems that is transferred to the service providers as the employment of the Company's personnel who possess such knowledge ends.
We could incur charges due to impairment of goodwill, intangible and long-lived assets.
At February 3, 2018, we had goodwill and intangible asset balances of $1.4 billion, which are subject to periodic testing for impairment. Our long-lived assets, primarily stores, also are subject to periodic testing for impairment. A significant amount of judgment is involved in the periodic testing. Failure to achieve sufficient levels of cash flow within our reporting unit, or sales of our branded products or cash flow generated from operations at

13


individual store locations could result in impairment charges for goodwill and intangible assets or fixed asset impairment for long-lived assets, which could have a material adverse effect on our reported results of operations. Impairment charges, if any, resulting from the periodic testing are non-cash. A significant decline in the property fair values could result in long-lived asset impairment charges. See Notes 12 and 13 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further information.
Our failure to attract or retain employees, including key personnel, may disrupt our business and adversely affect our financial results.
Our business is dependent on our ability to attract, develop, and retain qualified employees, many of whom are entry-level or part-time positions with historically high turnover rates. Our ability to meet our labor needs and control labor costs is subject to external factors such as unemployment levels, prevailing wage rates, collective bargaining efforts, health care and other benefit costs, changing demographics, and our reputation within the labor market. If we are unable to attract and retain adequate numbers and an appropriate mix of qualified employees, the quality of service we provide to our customers may decrease and our financial performance may be adversely affected. Further, we depend on the contributions of key personnel, including Edward S. Lampert, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and other key employees, for our future success. Over the past several years, the departures of a number of our executive officers have caused disruptions to, and uncertainty in, our business and operations. Future changes in our senior management team or the departures of other key employees may further disrupt our business and materially adversely affect our results of operations.
Affiliates of our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, whose interests may be different than your interests, exert substantial influence over our Company.
Affiliates of Edward S. Lampert, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, collectively own approximately 49% of the outstanding shares of our common stock at February 3, 2018. These affiliates are controlled, directly or indirectly, by Mr. Lampert. Accordingly, these affiliates, and thus Mr. Lampert, have substantial influence over many, if not all, actions to be taken or approved by our stockholders, including the election of directors and any transactions involving a change of control.
The interests of these affiliates, which have investments in other companies, including Seritage and our former subsidiaries, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc., Lands' End, Inc. and Sears Canada, may from time to time diverge from the interests of our other stockholders, particularly with regard to new investment opportunities. This substantial influence may also have the effect of discouraging offers to acquire our Company because the consummation of any such acquisition would likely require the consent of these affiliates.
In addition, as of February 3, 2018, these affiliates collectively hold approximately $1.8 billion of our outstanding indebtedness. As long as these affiliates continue to hold significant amounts of our indebtedness, such affiliates’ interests may be different than those of our other stockholders and debtholders.
We may be unable to protect or preserve the image of our brands and our intellectual property rights, which could have a negative impact on our business.
We regard our copyrights, service marks, trademarks, trade dress, trade secrets, patents and similar intellectual property as critical to our success, particularly those that relate to our private branded merchandise. As such, we rely on trademark and copyright law, patent law, trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements with our associates, consultants, vendors, and others to protect our proprietary rights. Nevertheless, the steps we take to protect our proprietary rights may be inadequate. If we are unable to protect or preserve the value of our trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, patents or other proprietary rights for any reason, or if we fail to maintain the image of our brands due to merchandise and service quality issues, actual or perceived, adverse publicity, governmental investigations or litigation, or other reasons, our brands and reputation could be damaged and we could lose members and customers.


14


Our sales and operating results could be adversely affected by product safety concerns or claims concerning the services we offer.
If our merchandise offerings do not meet applicable safety standards or consumer expectations regarding safety, we could experience decreased sales, increased costs, and exposure to reputational risk and personal injury, death, or property damage claims related to such merchandise. Such matters may require us to take actions such as product recalls and could give rise to government enforcement actions. We also provide various services to our members and customers, which could also give rise to such claims and government actions. Although we maintain liability insurance, we cannot be certain that our coverage will be adequate for liabilities actually incurred or that insurance will continue to be available to us on economically reasonable terms, or at all. Reputational damage caused by, and claims arising from, real or perceived product safety concerns or from the services we offer could negatively affect our business and results of operations.
We may be subject to periodic litigation and other regulatory proceedings. These proceedings may be affected by changes in laws and government regulations or changes in the enforcement thereof.
From time to time, we may be involved in lawsuits and regulatory actions relating to our business, certain of which may be in jurisdictions with reputations for aggressive application of laws and procedures against corporate defendants. Some of these actions have the potential for significant statutory penalties, and compensatory, treble or punitive damages. Our pharmacy, home services and grocery businesses, in particular, are subject to numerous federal, state and local regulations, and a significant change in, or noncompliance with, these regulations could have a material adverse effect on our compliance costs and results of operations. We are impacted by trends in litigation, including class-action allegations brought under various consumer protection and employment laws, including wage and hour laws, patent infringement claims, and investigations and actions that are based on allegations of untimely compliance or noncompliance with applicable regulations or statutes. Due to the inherent uncertainties of litigation and regulatory proceedings, we cannot accurately predict the ultimate outcome of any such proceedings. An unfavorable outcome could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. In addition, regardless of the outcome of any litigation or regulatory proceedings, these proceedings could result in substantial costs and may require that we devote substantial resources to defend our Company. Further, changes in governmental regulations both in the United States and in the other countries where we operate could have adverse effects on our business and subject us to additional regulatory actions. For a description of current legal proceedings, see Item 3, Legal Proceedings, as well as Note 18 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our pension and postretirement benefit plan obligations are currently underfunded, and we may have to make significant cash payments to some or all of these plans, which would reduce the cash available for our businesses.
We have unfunded obligations under our domestic pension and postretirement benefit plans. The funded status of our pension plans is dependent upon many factors, including returns on invested assets, the level of certain market interest rates and the discount rate used to determine pension obligations. Unfavorable returns on the plan assets or unfavorable changes in applicable laws or regulations could materially change the timing and amount of required plan funding, which would reduce the cash available for our businesses. In addition, a decrease in the discount rate used to determine pension obligations could result in an increase in the valuation of pension obligations, which could affect the reported funding status of our pension plans and future contributions, as well as the periodic pension cost in subsequent years. Moreover, unfavorable regulatory action could materially change the timing and amount of required plan funding and negatively impact our business operations and impair our business strategy.
On March 18, 2016, we entered into a five-year pension plan protection and forbearance agreement (the “PPPFA”) with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation ("PBGC"), pursuant to which the Company has agreed to continue to protect, or "ring-fence," pursuant to customary covenants, the assets of certain special purpose subsidiaries (the "Relevant Subsidiaries") holding real estate and/or intellectual property assets. Also under the agreement, the Relevant Subsidiaries granted PBGC a springing lien on the ring-fenced assets, which lien will be triggered only by (a) failure to make required contributions to the Company's pension plans (the "Plans"), (b)

15


prohibited transfers of ownership interests in the Relevant Subsidiaries, (c) termination events with respect to the Plans, or (d) bankruptcy events with respect to the Company or certain of its material subsidiaries.
In connection with the closing of our sale of the Craftsman brand, we agreed to grant the PBGC a lien on, and subsequently contribute to the Plans, the value of the $250 million cash payment payable to the Company on the third anniversary of the Craftsman closing. We subsequently sold the right to receive such payment to a third-party purchaser and deposited the proceeds from such sale into an escrow for the benefit of the Plans. We also granted a lien to the PBGC on the 15-year income stream relating to new Stanley Black & Decker sales of Craftsman products, and agreed to contribute the payments from Stanley Black & Decker under such income stream to the Plans. We also agreed to grant the PBGC a lien on $100 million of real estate assets to secure the Company's minimum pension funding obligations through the end of 2019, and agreed to certain other amendments to the PPPFA.
In November 2017, we entered into an amendment to the PPPFA that allowed the Company to pursue the monetization of 138 of our properties that were subject to a ring-fence arrangement created under the PPPFA. In March 2018, the Company closed on the Secured Loan and the Mezzanine Loan, which transactions released the properties from the ring-fence arrangement. The Company contributed approximately $282 million of the proceeds of such loans to our pension plans, and deposited $125 million into an escrow for the benefit of the Plans. Under our agreement with the PBGC, the escrowed amount will also be contributed to the Plans and, when so contributed, will be fully credited against the Company’s minimum pension funding obligations in 2018 and 2019. Following such transactions, the Company has been relieved of contributions to the Plans for approximately two years (other than the contributions from escrow described above and a $20 million supplemental payment due in the second quarter of 2018). The ultimate amount of pension contributions could be affected by factors such as changes in applicable laws, as well as financial market and investment performance and demographic changes.
The Company will continue to make required contributions to the Plans, the scheduled amounts of which are not, other than as described above, affected by the arrangement. Under the PPPFA, the PBGC has agreed to forbear from initiating an involuntary termination of the Plans, except upon the occurrence of specified conditions, one of which is based on the aggregate market value of the Company’s issued and outstanding stock. As of the date of this report, the Company’s stock price is such that the PBGC would be permitted to cease forbearance. The PBGC has been given notice in accordance with the terms of the PPPFA and has not communicated any intention to cease its forbearance; however, if the PBGC were to initiate an involuntary termination of the Plans, our financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.
We may not realize the full anticipated benefits of the Craftsman sale transaction.
We may not realize the full anticipated benefits of the Craftsman sale transaction (the "Craftsman Sale"), in which case our business, financial results or operations could be adversely affected. Under the terms of our Acquired IP License Agreement with Stanley Black & Decker, we have the right to continue to use the Licensed IP (as defined in such agreement) and sell Craftsman-branded products in certain distribution channels. If the license is terminated, or if the terms of the license agreement are otherwise modified, we may not be able to continue to market, procure or sell Craftsman-branded products on favorable terms or at all, and our business may be adversely affected.
Our failure to comply with federal, state, local and international laws, or changes in these laws could adversely affect our results of operations.
Our business is subject to a wide array of laws and regulations. If we fail to comply with applicable laws and regulations, we could be subject to legal risk, including government enforcement action and class action civil litigation that could increase our cost of doing business. Changes in the regulatory environment regarding topics such as privacy and information security, product safety, environmental protection, payment methods and related fees, responsible sourcing, supply chain transparency, wage and hour laws, health care mandates and other applicable laws and regulations could also cause our compliance costs to increase and adversely affect our results of operations.
Our performance could further be impacted by changes in legislation, trade policies and agreements, energy and environmental standards, and tax laws and regulations. The current U.S. Administration has signaled that it may alter trade agreements and terms with foreign countries, and recently limited trade by announcing upcoming tariffs

16


on imported steel and aluminum and imposing tariffs and quotas on imports of residential washers from certain foreign countries. These restrictions and tariffs, as well as future additional tariffs and/or quotas, on products that we import may require that we raise our prices, which could result in decreased sales. Further, changes in environmental and energy efficiency standards and regulations applicable to products that we develop and/or sell, and potential changes in the size and availability of tax incentives applicable to such products, may impact the types, characteristics, and consumer interest in such products, which may negatively impact our results of operations. Moreover, future legislation or regulations, including environmental matters, product certification, product liability, tariffs, duties, taxes, tax incentives and other matters, may impact our results. Major developments in tax policy or trade relations, such as the imposition of unilateral tariffs on imported products, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and liquidity.
Weather conditions and natural disasters may impact consumer shopping patterns and could adversely affect our results of operations.
Significant weather conditions where our stores are located could negatively affect the Company's business and results of operations. Heavy snowfall, ice storms, rainstorms or other extreme weather conditions over a prolonged period could make it difficult for our members and customers to travel to our stores, thus leading to decreased sales. Our business is also susceptible to unseasonable weather conditions, such as unseasonably warm temperatures during the winter season or cool weather during the summer season, which could reduce demand for certain inventory and compromise our efforts to predict and manage inventory levels effectively. In addition, extreme weather conditions could result in disruption or delay of production and delivery of materials and products in our supply chain. In addition, natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes, or a combination of these or other factors, could damage or destroy our facilities or make it difficult for members and customers to travel to our stores, thereby negatively affecting our business and results of operations as well as causing us to incur significant expenses to repair or replace such facilities.
Our stock price has been and may continue to be volatile.
The market price of our common stock has fluctuated substantially and may continue to fluctuate significantly. Future announcements or disclosures concerning us or any of our competitors, our strategic initiatives, our sales and profitability, any quarterly variations in actual or anticipated operating results or comparable sales, any failure to meet analysts' expectations and sales of large blocks of our common stock, among other factors, could cause the market price of our common stock to fluctuate substantially.
Increases in employee wages and the cost of employee benefits could impact our financial results and cash flow.
Our expenses relating to employee health benefits are significant. Increases in minimum wages or unfavorable changes in the cost of such benefits could negatively affect our financial results and cash flow. Healthcare costs have risen significantly in recent years, and various legislative and private sector initiatives regarding healthcare reform have resulted, and could continue to result, in significant changes to the U.S. healthcare system. Due to the breadth and complexity of the healthcare reform legislation, and the potential for change in this regard under the current U.S. Administration, we are unable at this time to fully determine the impact that further healthcare reform will have on our employee health benefit plans.
Item 1B.
Unresolved Staff Comments
Not applicable.

17


Item 2.
Properties
The following table summarizes the locations of our Kmart and Sears Domestic stores at February 3, 2018:
 
 

 
Sears Domestic
State / Territory
 
Kmart
 
Full-line Stores
 
Specialty Stores
Alabama
 

 
2

 

Alaska
 

 
3

 

Arizona
 
4

 
12

 

Arkansas
 
2

 
2

 

California
 
55

 
70

 
3

Colorado
 
4

 
9

 
1

Connecticut
 
3

 
6

 

Delaware
 
4

 
3

 

Florida
 
20

 
45

 
1

Georgia
 
6

 
13

 

Hawaii
 
2

 
4

 
1

Idaho
 
3

 
4

 

Illinois
 
12

 
21

 
4

Indiana
 
12

 
10

 

Iowa
 
9

 
5

 

Kansas
 
3

 
2

 

Kentucky
 
5

 
4

 

Louisiana
 
4

 
8

 

Maine
 
4

 
3

 

Maryland
 
11

 
15

 

Massachusetts
 
9

 
17

 

Michigan
 
15

 
17

 
1

Minnesota
 
5

 
6

 

Mississippi
 
2

 
3

 
1

Missouri
 
5

 
8

 

Montana
 
5

 
1

 

Nebraska
 
1

 
4

 

Nevada
 
5

 
5

 
1

New Hampshire
 
4

 
5

 

New Jersey
 
17

 
16

 
1

New Mexico
 
7

 
4

 

New York
 
30

 
28

 
3

North Carolina
 
15

 
16

 

North Dakota
 
5

 
2

 

Ohio
 
14

 
19

 

Oklahoma
 
2

 
3

 

Oregon
 
5

 
6

 
1

Pennsylvania
 
47

 
23

 
2

Rhode Island
 

 

 

South Carolina
 
6

 
6

 

South Dakota
 
1

 
2

 

Tennessee
 
7

 
13

 

Texas
 
3

 
46

 
2

Utah
 
1

 
2

 

Vermont
 
2

 
1

 

Virginia
 
6

 
16

 

Washington
 
6

 
16

 
1

West Virginia
 
7

 
3

 

Wisconsin
 
7

 
8

 

Wyoming
 
4

 
1

 

Puerto Rico
 
21

 
9

 

U.S. Virgin Islands
 
4

 

 

Guam
 
1

 

 

Totals
 
432

 
547

 
23


18


  
 
 

 
Sears Domestic
 
 
Kmart
 
Full-line Stores
 
Specialty Stores
Owned
 
48

 
243

 
16

Leased
 
384

 
304

 
7

February 3, 2018
 
432

 
547

 
23

In addition, at February 3, 2018, we had 30 domestic supply chain distribution centers, of which 10 were owned and 20 were leased with remaining lease terms ranging up to 10 years. Of the total, six primarily support Kmart stores, 20 primarily support Sears stores and four support both Sears and Kmart stores. We also had 400 domestic store warehouses, customer call centers and service facilities (including 20 facilities related to our Monark Premium Appliance Co. of California, Monark Premium Appliance Co., and Monark Premium Appliance Co. of Arizona businesses), most of which are leased for terms ranging from one to six years or are part of other facilities included in the above table. Many of our facilities are also used to support our online channels.
Our principal executive offices are located on a 200-acre site owned by us at the Prairie Stone office park in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The complex consists of six interconnected office buildings totaling approximately two million gross square feet of office space. We also own an 86,000 square foot office building in Troy, Michigan. We operate numerous buying offices throughout the world that procure product internationally, as well as an information technology center in Pune, India.
A description of our leasing arrangements and commitments appears in Note 14 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Item 3.
Legal Proceedings
See Part II, Item 8, Financial Statements—Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, Note 18—Legal Proceedings, for additional information regarding legal proceedings, which information is incorporated herein by this reference.
Item 4.
Mine Safety Disclosures
Not applicable.

19


EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF THE REGISTRANT
The following table and information sets forth the names of our executive officers, their current positions and offices with the Company, the date they first became executive officers of the Company, their current ages, and their principal employment during the past five years.
Name
 
Position
 
Date First Became an Executive Officer
 
Age
Edward S. Lampert
 
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
 
2013
 
55
Robert A. Riecker
 
Chief Financial Officer
 
2012
 
53
Julie Ainsworth
 
Chief People Officer
 
2017
 
46
J. Mitchell Bowling
 
Chief Executive Officer, Sears Home Services
 
2017
 
51
Leena Munjal
 
Chief Digital Officer
 
2013
 
41
Robert (B.J.) Naedele
 
Chief Commercial Officer, Shop Your Way
 
2017
 
39
Perry (Dean) Schwartz
 
President, Hardlines
 
2017
 
49
Stephen L. Sitley
 
General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer
 
2017
 
54
__________________
Mr. Lampert has served as Chairman of the Company's Board of Directors since 2004 and as our Chief Executive Officer since February 2013. He also is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ESL Investments, Inc., which he founded in April 1988.
Mr. Riecker was appointed to his current position in April 2017, and had served as Controller and Head of Capital Markets Activities since October 2016. He joined the Company as Assistant Controller in October 2005 and served as Vice President and Assistant Controller from May 2007 to October 2011. From October 2011 until his election as Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer in January 2012, he served as the Company's Vice President, Internal Audit.
Ms. Ainsworth joined the Company in March 2017 as Chief People Officer. Prior to joining the Company, she was Chief Executive Officer of celectiv LLC, a recruiting platform for technology-based companies, which she co-founded in 2014. From 2010 until 2013 she served as President of Warranty Division and Chief Marketing Officer of North American Services Division of Centrica plc, an energy and services company.
Mr. Bowling joined the Company in November 2017 as Chief Executive Officer, Sears Home Services. Prior to joining the Company, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Apollo Education Group, a leading provider of higher education for working adults, from December 2013 until April 2017, and prior to that, served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of New Businesses at Comcast, a global telecommunications provider, from 2009 until 2013.
Ms. Munjal was appointed to her current position in January 2018. She previously served as Senior Vice President, Customer Experience and Integrated Retail, since October 2012. She was appointed as Divisional Vice President, Integrated Retail and Member Experience, in July 2011 and was promoted to Vice President in June 2012. From October 2009 to June 2011, she served as Divisional Vice President, and Chief of Staff, Office of the Chairman, and served as Chief of Staff, Office of the CEO, from November 2007 to November 2009. Ms. Munjal joined Sears as Director, Information Technology, in March 2003.
Mr. Naedele joined the Company in March 2017. Prior to joining the Company, he served in a variety of roles with Nike, Inc., a company engaged in the design, development, marketing and sales of athletic gear and apparel, which he joined in July 2008, most recently as Vice President, Strategic Growth Initiatives from March 2016 until February 2017, and prior to that as Vice President, Global Brand Marketing from July 2014 until March 2016 and Global Business General Manager from July 2012 until July 2014.
Mr. Schwartz was appointed to his current position in April 2017. He previously served as President, Tools, Lawn & Garden, Fitness, Sporting Goods and Children's Entertainment from January 2017 until April 2017, as Vice President, Tools and Lawn & Garden from August 2016 until January 2017, as Vice President, Tools from May 2013 until August 2016, and as Vice President, Lawn & Garden from March 2009 until May 2013.

20


Mr. Sitley was appointed General Counsel in November 2017 and became Chief Compliance Officer in December 2017. From June 2016 until November 2017, he served as Vice President, Human Resources Operations, Compliance and Associate Relations, and prior to that, was Deputy General Counsel, Litigation and Employment from June 2011 until June 2016.

21


PART II
Item 5.
Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Holdings' common stock is quoted on The NASDAQ Stock Market under the ticker symbol SHLD. There were 9,502 shareholders of record at March 16, 2018. The quarterly high and low sales prices for Holdings' common stock are set forth below.
 
Fiscal Year 2017
 
Sears Holdings
 
First
Quarter
 
Second
Quarter
 
Third
Quarter
 
Fourth
Quarter
Common stock price
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
    High
$
14.32

 
$
11.49

 
$
9.63

 
$
5.85

    Low
$
5.50

 
$
6.20

 
$
5.48

 
$
2.31

 
 
 
Fiscal Year 2016
 
Sears Holdings
 
First
Quarter
 
Second
Quarter
 
Third
Quarter
 
Fourth
Quarter
Common stock price
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
    High
$
19.12

 
$
16.55

 
$
18.18

 
$
13.84

    Low
$
14.05

 
$
10.52

 
$
10.50

 
$
7.08

Holdings has not paid cash dividends over the two most recent fiscal years and does not expect to pay cash dividends in the foreseeable future.
Equity Compensation Plan Information
The following table reflects information about securities authorized for issuance under our equity compensation plans at February 3, 2018.
Plan Category
Number of securities
to be issued upon
exercise of
outstanding options,
warrants and
rights 
 
Weighted-average
exercise price of
outstanding
options,
warrants and
rights
 
Number of securities
remaining available for
future issuance
under equity
compensation plans*
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders
 
 
3,778,115
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders
 
 
Total
 
 
3,778,115
 
__________________
*
Represents shares of common stock that may be issued pursuant to our 2013 Stock Plan. Awards under the 2013 Stock Plan may be restricted stock, stock unit awards, incentive stock options, nonqualified stock options, stock appreciation rights, or certain other stock-based awards. The 2013 Stock Plan also allows common stock of Holdings to be awarded in settlement of an incentive award under the Sears Holdings Corporation Umbrella Incentive Program (and any incentive program established thereunder). The shares shown exclude shares covered by an outstanding plan award that, subsequent to February 3, 2018, ultimately are not delivered on an unrestricted basis (for example, because the award is forfeited, canceled, settled in cash or used to satisfy tax withholding obligations).

22


Stock Performance Graph
Comparison of Five-Year Cumulative Stockholder Return
The following graph compares the cumulative total return to stockholders on Holdings' common stock from February 1, 2013 through February 2, 2018, the last trading day before the end of fiscal year 2017, based on the market prices at the last trading day before the end of each fiscal year through and including fiscal year 2017, with the return on the S&P 500 Index, the S&P 500 Retailing Index and the S&P 500 Department Stores Index for the same period. The graph assumes an initial investment of $100 on February 1, 2013 in each of our common stock, the S&P 500 Index, the S&P Retailing Index and the S&P 500 Department Stores Index. The graph further assumes reinvestment of the value of: (i) subscription rights to purchase shares of common stock of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. on September 13, 2012, the ex-distribution date of the distribution of such rights to Holdings’ shareholders; (ii) common shares of Sears Canada on November 13, 2012, the distribution date of such shares to Holdings’ shareholders; (iii) shares of Lands' End on April 7, 2014, the ex-distribution date of the distribution of such shares to Holdings' shareholders; (iv) subscription rights to purchase shares of common stock of Sears Canada on October 17, 2014, the ex-distribution date of the distribution of such rights to Holdings' shareholders; (v) subscription rights to purchase up to $625 million in aggregate principal amount of 8% senior unsecured notes due 2019 and warrants to purchase shares of Holdings' common stock on November 3, 2014, the ex-distribution date of the distribution of such rights to Holdings' shareholders; and (vi) subscription rights to purchase shares of common stock of Seritage Growth Properties on June 12, 2015, the distribution date of such rights to Holdings’ shareholders.
The S&P 500 Retailing Index consists of companies included in the S&P 500 Index in the broadly defined retail sector, which includes competing retailers of softlines (apparel and domestics) and hardlines (appliances, electronics and home improvement products), as well as food and drug retailers. The S&P 500 Department Stores Index consists primarily of department stores that compete with our full-line stores.
shld201710k_chart-42764a01.jpg
 
Feb 1, 2013
 
Jan 31, 2014
 
Jan 30, 2015
 
Jan 29, 2016
 
Jan 27, 2017
 
Feb 2, 2018
Sears Holdings
$
100.00

 
$
76.49

 
$
88.75

 
$
56.75

 
$
24.84

 
$
7.87

S&P 500 Index
$
100.00

 
$
120.29

 
$
137.39

 
$
136.47

 
$
164.93

 
$
202.57

S&P 500 Retailing Index
$
100.00

 
$
125.31

 
$
150.49

 
$
175.76

 
$
208.37

 
$
294.43

S&P 500 Department Stores Index
$
100.00

 
$
116.05

 
$
144.80

 
$
104.42

 
$
84.22

 
$
103.54


23


Purchase of Equity Securities
During the quarter ended February 3, 2018, we did not repurchase any shares of our common stock under our common share repurchase program. At February 3, 2018, we had approximately $504 million of remaining authorization under the program.
 
Total
Number of
Shares
Purchased
(1)
 
Average
Price Paid
per Share
 
Total Number of
Shares Purchased
as Part of  Publicly
Announced
Program
(2)
 
Average
Price Paid
per  Share
for
Publicly
Announced
Program
 
Approximate
Dollar Value of
Shares that May
Yet Be Purchased
Under
the Program
October 29, 2017 to November 25, 2017

 
$

 

 
$

 
 
November 26, 2017 to December 30, 2017

 

 

 

 
 
December 31, 2017 to February 3, 2018

 

 

 

 
 
Total

 
$

 

 
$

 
$
503,907,832

__________________
(1) 
Consists entirely of 0 shares acquired from associates to meet withholding tax requirements from the vesting of restricted stock.
(2) 
Our common share repurchase program was initially announced on September 14, 2005 and has a total authorization since inception of the program of $6.5 billion, including the authorizations to purchase up to an additional $500 million of common stock on each of December 17, 2009 and May 2, 2011. The program has no stated expiration date.
The Amended Domestic Credit Agreement (described in Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Uses and Sources of Liquidity section below) limits our ability to make restricted payments, including dividends and share repurchases, subject to specified exceptions that are available if, in each case, no event of default under the credit facility exists immediately before or after giving effect to the restricted payment. These include exceptions that require that projected availability under the credit facility, as defined, is at least 15%, exceptions that may be subject to certain maximum amounts and an exception that requires that the restricted payment is funded from cash on hand and not from borrowings under the credit facility. Further, the Amended Domestic Credit Agreement includes customary covenants that restrict our ability to make dispositions, prepay debt and make investments, subject, in each case, to various exceptions. The Amended Domestic Credit Agreement also imposes various other requirements, which take effect if availability falls below designated thresholds, including a cash dominion requirement and a requirement that the fixed charge ratio at the last day of any quarter be not less than 1.0 to 1.0.



24


Item 6.
Selected Financial Data
The table below summarizes our recent financial information. The data set forth below should be read in conjunction with Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in Item 7 and our Consolidated Financial Statements and notes thereto in Item 8.
 
Fiscal
dollars in millions, except per share data
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Summary of Operations
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenues(1)
$
16,702

 
$
22,138

 
$
25,146

 
$
31,198

 
$
36,188

Domestic comparable store sales %
(13.5
)%
 
(7.4
)%
 
(9.2
)%
 
(1.8
)%
 
(3.8
)%
Net loss from continuing operations attributable to Holdings' shareholders
(383
)
 
(2,221
)
 
(1,129
)
 
(1,682
)
 
(1,365
)
Per Common Share
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Basic:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Net loss from continuing operations attributable to Holdings' shareholders
$
(3.57
)
 
$
(20.78
)
 
$
(10.59
)
 
$
(15.82
)
 
$
(12.87
)
Diluted:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Net loss from continuing operations attributable to Holdings' shareholders
$
(3.57
)
 
$
(20.78
)
 
$
(10.59
)
 
$
(15.82
)
 
$
(12.87
)
Holdings' book value per common share
$
(34.54
)
 
$
(35.71
)
 
$
(18.40
)
 
$
(8.93
)
 
$
16.34

Financial Data
 
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Total assets
$
7,262

 
$
9,362

 
$
11,337

 
$
13,185

 
$
18,234

Long-term debt
2,199

 
3,470

 
1,971

 
2,878

 
2,531

Long-term capital lease obligations
50

 
103

 
137

 
210

 
275

Capital expenditures
80

 
142

 
211

 
270

 
329

Adjusted EBITDA(2)
(562
)
 
(808
)
 
(836
)
 
(718
)
 
(487
)
Number of stores
1,002

 
1,430

 
1,672

 
1,725

 
2,429

_________________
 
(1) 
We follow a retail-based financial reporting calendar. Accordingly, the fiscal year ended February 3, 2018 contained 53 weeks, while all other years presented contained 52 weeks.
(2) 
See "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" in Item 7 for a reconciliation of this measure to GAAP and a discussion of management’s reasoning for using such measure. The periods presented were impacted by certain significant items, which affected the comparability of amounts reflected in the above selected financial data. For 2017, 2016 and 2015, these significant items are discussed within Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations." 2014 results include the impact of domestic pension expense of $89 million, store closings and severance of $224 million, other expenses of $50 million and the results of Lands' End and Sears Canada that were included in the results of operations prior to the separations of $(10) million and $71 million, respectively. 2013 results include the impact of domestic pension expense of $162 million, domestic store closings and severance of $130 million, and the results of Lands' End and Sears Canada that were included in the results of our operations prior to the separations of $(150) million and $(3) million, respectively. Both 2014 and 2013 also included charges related to impairments, as well as gains on sales of assets.

25


Item 7.
Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
We have divided our Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations into the following six sections:
Overview of Holdings
Results of Operations:
Fiscal Year
Holdings' Consolidated Results
Business Segment Results
Analysis of Consolidated Financial Condition
Contractual Obligations and Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
Application of Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information
The discussion that follows should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and notes thereto included in Item 8.
OVERVIEW OF HOLDINGS
Holdings, the parent company of Kmart and Sears, was formed in connection with the March 24, 2005 merger of these two companies. We are an integrated retailer with significant physical and intangible assets, as well as virtual capabilities enabled through technology. We operate a national network of stores, with 1,002 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States, operating as Kmart and Sears. Further, we operate a number of websites under the sears.com and kmart.com banners which offer millions of products and provide the capability for our members and customers to engage in cross-channel transactions such as free store pickup; buy in store/ship to home; and buy online, return in store. We are also the home of Shop Your Way®, a free membership program that connects its members to personalized products, programs and partners that help them save time and money every day. Through an extensive network of national and local partners, members can shop thousands of their favorite brands, dine out and access an array of exclusive partners to earn points to redeem for savings on future purchases at Sears, Kmart, Lands' End and at ShopYourWay.com.
We conduct our operations in two business segments: Kmart and Sears Domestic. The nature of operations conducted within each of these segments is discussed within the Business Segments section of Item 1 in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our business segments have been determined in accordance with accounting standards regarding the determination, and reporting, of business segments.
RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Fiscal Year
Our fiscal year end is the Saturday closest to January 31 each year. Fiscal year 2017 consisted of 53 weeks. Fiscal years 2016 and 2015 consisted of 52 weeks. Unless otherwise stated, references to years in this report relate to fiscal years rather than to calendar years.

26


Holdings' Consolidated Results
Holdings' consolidated results of operations for 2017, 2016 and 2015 are summarized as follows:
dollars in millions, except per share data
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
REVENUES
 
 
 
 
 
 
Merchandise sales
 
$
13,409

 
$
18,236

 
$
20,936

Services and other
 
3,293

 
3,902

 
4,210

Total revenues
 
16,702

 
22,138

 
25,146

COSTS AND EXPENSES
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cost of sales, buying and occupancy - merchandise sales
 
11,349

 
15,184

 
16,817

Gross margin dollars - merchandise sales
 
2,060

 
3,052

 
4,119

Gross margin rate - merchandise sales
 
15.4
%
 
16.7
%
 
19.7
%
Cost of sales and occupancy - services and other
 
1,826

 
2,268

 
2,519

Gross margin dollars - services and other
 
1,467

 
1,634

 
1,691

Gross margin rate - services and other
 
44.5
%
 
41.9
%
 
40.2
%
Total cost of sales, buying and occupancy
 
13,175

 
17,452

 
19,336

Total gross margin dollars
 
3,527

 
4,686

 
5,810

Total gross margin rate
 
21.1
%
 
21.2
%
 
23.1
%
Selling and administrative
 
5,131

 
6,109

 
6,857

Selling and administrative expense as a percentage of total revenues
 
30.7
%
 
27.6
%
 
27.3
%
Depreciation and amortization
 
332

 
375

 
422

Impairment charges
 
142

 
427

 
274

Gain on sales of assets
 
(1,648
)
 
(247
)
 
(743
)
Total costs and expenses
 
17,132

 
24,116

 
26,146

Operating loss
 
(430
)
 
(1,978
)
 
(1,000
)
Interest expense
 
(539
)
 
(404
)
 
(323
)
Interest and investment loss
 
(12
)
 
(26
)
 
(62
)
Other income
 

 
13

 

Loss before income taxes
 
(981
)
 
(2,395
)
 
(1,385
)
Income tax benefit
 
598

 
174

 
257

Net loss
 
(383
)
 
(2,221
)
 
(1,128
)
Income attributable to noncontrolling interests
 

 

 
(1
)
NET LOSS ATTRIBUTABLE TO HOLDINGS’ SHAREHOLDERS
 
$
(383
)
 
$
(2,221
)
 
$
(1,129
)
NET LOSS PER COMMON SHARE ATTRIBUTABLE TO HOLDINGS’ SHAREHOLDERS
 
 
 
 
 
 
Diluted loss per share
 
$
(3.57
)
 
$
(20.78
)
 
$
(10.59
)
Diluted weighted average common shares outstanding
 
107.4

 
106.9

 
106.6


27


References to comparable store sales amounts within the following discussion include sales for all stores operating for a period of at least 12 full months, including remodeled and expanded stores, but excluding store relocations and stores that have undergone format changes. Comparable store sales amounts include sales from sears.com and kmart.com shipped directly to customers. These online sales resulted in a negative impact to our comparable store sales results of approximately 70 basis points and 20 basis points for 2017 and 2016, respectively. In addition, comparable store sales have been adjusted for the change in the unshipped sales reserves recorded at the end of each reporting period, which resulted in a benefit of 30 basis points in 2017 and did not have any impact in 2016.
Comparable store sales results for 2017 were calculated based on the 52-week period ended January 27, 2018 as compared to the comparable 52-week period in the prior year, while comparable store sales results for 2016 were calculated based on the 52-week period ended January 28, 2017 as compared to the comparable 52-week period in the prior year.
2017 Compared to 2016
Net Loss Attributable to Holdings' Shareholders
We recorded a net loss attributable to Holdings' shareholders of $383 million ($3.57 loss per diluted share) and $2.2 billion ($20.78 loss per diluted share) for 2017 and 2016, respectively. The decrease in net loss for the year primarily reflected an increase in gain on sales of assets, a decrease in selling and administrative expenses and an increase in income tax benefit, partially offset by a decline in gross margin, which was primarily driven by the decline in revenues. Our results for 2017 and 2016 were affected by a number of significant items.
In addition to our net loss attributable to Holdings' shareholders determined in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ("GAAP"), for purposes of evaluating operating performance, we use Adjusted Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization ("Adjusted EBITDA").
Adjusted EBITDA was determined as follows:
millions
2017
 
2016
 
2015
Net loss attributable to Holdings per statement of operations
$
(383
)
 
$
(2,221
)
 
$
(1,129
)
Income attributable to noncontrolling interests

 

 
1

Income tax benefit
(598
)
 
(174
)
 
(257
)
Interest expense
539

 
404

 
323

Interest and investment loss
12

 
26

 
62

Other income

 
(13
)
 

Operating loss
(430
)
 
(1,978
)
 
(1,000
)
Depreciation and amortization
332

 
375

 
422

Gain on sales of assets
(1,648
)
 
(247
)
 
(743
)
Impairment charges
142

 
427

 
274

Before excluded items
(1,604
)
 
(1,423
)
 
(1,047
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Closed store reserve and severance
462

 
384

 
98

Pension expense
656

 
288

 
229

Other(1)
2

 
31

 
(64
)
Amortization of deferred Seritage gain
(78
)
 
(88
)
 
(52
)
Adjusted EBITDA
$
(562
)
 
$
(808
)
 
$
(836
)
(1) Consisted of items associated with legal matters, expenses associated with natural disasters, transaction costs associated with strategic initiatives, one-time credits from vendors and other expenses.

28


Adjusted EBITDA for our segments was as follows:
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
millions
Kmart
Sears Domestic
Sears Holdings
 
Kmart
Sears Domestic
Sears Holdings
 
Kmart
Sears Domestic
Sears Holdings
Operating income (loss) per statement of operations
$
367

$
(797
)
$
(430
)
 
$
(530
)
$
(1,448
)
$
(1,978
)
 
$
(292
)
$
(708
)
$
(1,000
)
Depreciation and amortization
60

272

332

 
71

304

375

 
72

350

422

Gain on sales of assets
(881
)
(767
)
(1,648
)
 
(181
)
(66
)
(247
)
 
(185
)
(558
)
(743
)
Impairment charges
16

126

142

 
22

405

427

 
14

260

274

Before excluded items
(438
)
(1,166
)
(1,604
)
 
(618
)
(805
)
(1,423
)
 
(391
)
(656
)
(1,047
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Closed store reserve and severance
281

181

462

 
318

66

384

 
86

12

98

Pension expense

656

656

 

288

288

 

229

229

Other(1)
(23
)
25

2

 
15

16

31

 
43

(107
)
(64
)
Amortization of deferred Seritage gain
(11
)
(67
)
(78
)
 
(17
)
(71
)
(88
)
 
(11
)
(41
)
(52
)
Adjusted EBITDA
$
(191
)
$
(371
)
$
(562
)
 
$
(302
)
$
(506
)
$
(808
)
 
$
(273
)
$
(563
)
$
(836
)
% to revenues
(3.4
)%
(3.3
)%
(3.4
)%
 
(3.5
)%
(3.8
)%
(3.6
)%
 
(2.7
)%
(3.8
)%
(3.3
)%
(1) Consisted of items associated with legal matters, expenses associated with natural disasters, transaction costs associated with strategic initiatives, one-time credits from vendors and other expenses.

The following tables set forth the impact each excluded item used in calculating Adjusted EBITDA had on specific income and expense amounts reported in our Consolidated Statements of Operations during the years 2017, 2016 and 2015.
millions
 
Year Ended February 3, 2018
Other Excluded Items:
 
Closed store reserve and severance
 
Pension expense
 
Other(1)
 
Amortization of deferred Seritage gain
 
Total
Gross margin impact
 
$
227

 
$

 
$

 
$
(78
)
 
$
149

Selling and administrative impact
 
235

 
656

 
2

 

 
893

Total
 
$
462

 
$
656

 
$
2

 
$
(78
)
 
$
1,042

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
millions
 
Year Ended January 28, 2017
Other Excluded Items:
 
Closed store reserve and severance
 
Pension expense
 
Other(1)
 
Amortization of deferred Seritage gain
 
Total
Gross margin impact
 
$
226

 
$

 
$
(33
)
 
$
(88
)
 
$
105

Selling and administrative impact
 
158

 
288

 
64

 

 
510

Total
 
$
384

 
$
288

 
$
31

 
$
(88
)
 
$
615

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
millions
 
Year Ended January 30, 2016
Other Excluded Items:
 
Closed store reserve and severance
 
Pension expense
 
Other(1)
 
Amortization of deferred Seritage gain
 
Total
Gross margin impact
 
$
44

 
$

 
$
(146
)
 
$
(52
)
 
$
(154
)
Selling and administrative impact
 
54

 
229

 
82

 

 
365

Total
 
$
98

 
$
229

 
$
(64
)
 
$
(52
)
 
$
211

(1) Consisted of items associated with legal matters, expenses associated with natural disasters, transaction costs associated with strategic initiatives, one-time credits from vendors and other expenses.


29


Adjusted EBITDA is computed as net loss attributable to Sears Holdings Corporation appearing on the Statements of Operations excluding income attributable to noncontrolling interests, income tax benefit, interest expense, interest and investment loss, other income, depreciation and amortization, gain on sales of assets and impairment charges. In addition, it is adjusted to exclude certain significant items as set forth below. Our management uses Adjusted EBITDA to evaluate the operating performance of our businesses, as well as executive compensation metrics, for comparable periods. Adjusted EBITDA should not be used by investors or other third parties as the sole basis for formulating investment decisions as it excludes a number of important cash and non-cash recurring items.
While Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP measurement, management believes that it is an important indicator of ongoing operating performance, and useful to investors, because:
EBITDA excludes the effects of financings and investing activities by eliminating the effects of interest and depreciation costs;
Management considers gains/(losses) on the sale of assets to result from investing decisions rather than ongoing operations; and
Other significant items, while periodically affecting our results, may vary significantly from period to period and have a disproportionate effect in a given period, which affects comparability of results. We have adjusted our results for these items to make our statements more comparable and therefore more useful to investors as the items are not representative of our ongoing operations and reflect past investment decisions.
These other significant items included in Adjusted EBITDA are further explained as follows:
Closed store reserve and severance – We are transforming our Company to a less asset-intensive business model. Throughout this transformation, we continue to make choices related to our stores, which could result in sales, closures, lease terminations or a variety of other decisions.
Pension expense – Contributions to our pension plans remain a significant use of our cash on an annual basis. Cash contributions to our pension and postretirement plans are separately disclosed on the cash flow statement. While the Company's pension plan is frozen, and thus associates do not currently earn pension benefits, we have a legacy pension obligation for past service performed by Kmart and Sears associates. The annual pension expense included in our statement of operations related to these legacy domestic pension plans was relatively minimal in years prior to 2009. However, due to the severe decline in the capital markets that occurred in the latter part of 2008, and the resulting abnormally low interest rates, which continue to persist, our domestic pension expense was $656 million in 2017, $288 million in 2016 and $229 million in 2015. Pension expense is comprised of interest cost, expected return on plan assets and recognized net loss and other. This adjustment eliminates the entire pension expense from the statement of operations to improve comparability. Pension expense is included in the determination of net loss.
As further described in Note 7 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, settlement charges also impacted pension expense in 2017. In conjunction with executing two separate agreements to purchase group annuity contracts in May 2017 and August 2017, the Company recorded non-cash charges of $200 million and $203 million, respectively, during the second and third quarters of 2017 for losses previously accumulated in other comprehensive income (loss), which were recognized through the statement of operations upon settlement. In addition, in conjunction with a lump sum offer completed in 2017, the Company recorded a non-cash charge of $76 million for losses previously accumulated in other comprehensive income (loss), which was recognized through the statement of operations immediately upon settlement during the fourth quarter of 2017.

30


The components of the adjustments to EBITDA related to pension expense were as follows:
millions
2017
 
2016
 
2015
Components of net periodic expense:
 
 
 
 
 
Interest cost
$
180

 
$
227

 
$
210

Expected return on plan assets
(190
)
 
(202
)
 
(249
)
Settlements
479

 

 

Recognized net loss and other
187

 
263

 
268

Net periodic expense
$
656

 
$
288

 
$
229

In accordance with GAAP, we recognize on the balance sheet actuarial gains and losses for defined benefit pension plans annually in the fourth quarter of each fiscal year and whenever a plan is determined to qualify for a remeasurement during a fiscal year. For income statement purposes, these actuarial gains and losses are recognized throughout the year through an amortization process. The Company recognizes in its results of operations, as a corridor adjustment, any unrecognized actuarial net gains or losses that exceed 10% of the larger of projected benefit obligations or plan assets. Accumulated gains/losses that are inside the 10% corridor are not recognized, while accumulated actuarial gains/losses that are outside the 10% corridor are amortized over the "average future service" of the population and are included in the recognized net loss and other line item above.
Actuarial gains and losses occur when actual experience differs from the estimates used to allocate the change in value of pension plans to expense throughout the year or when assumptions change, as they may each year. Significant factors that can contribute to the recognition of actuarial gains and losses include changes in discount rates used to remeasure pension obligations on an annual basis or upon a qualifying remeasurement, differences between actual and expected returns on plan assets and other changes in actuarial assumptions. Management believes these actuarial gains and losses are primarily financing activities that are more reflective of changes in current conditions in global financial markets (and in particular interest rates) that are not directly related to the underlying business and that do not have an immediate, corresponding impact on the benefits provided to eligible retirees. For further information on the actuarial assumptions and plan assets referenced above, see Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Application of Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates - Defined Benefit Pension Plans, and Note 7 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Other – Consisted of items associated with legal matters, expenses associated with natural disasters, transaction costs associated with strategic initiatives, one-time credits from vendors and other expenses.
Amortization of deferred Seritage gain – A portion of the gain on the Seritage transaction and certain other sale-leaseback transactions were deferred and will be recognized in proportion to the related rent expense, which is a component of cost of sales, buying and occupancy in the Consolidated Statements of Operations, over the lease terms. Management considers the amortization of the deferred Seritage gain to result from investing decisions rather than ongoing operations.
Revenues and Comparable Store Sales
Total revenues decreased $5.4 billion, or 24.6%, to $16.7 billion in 2017 compared to 2016 primarily driven by the decline in merchandise sales of $4.8 billion. The decline in merchandise sales included a decrease of approximately $3.2 billion as a result of having fewer Kmart and Sears Full-line stores in operation. For the full year, comparable store sales declined 13.5%, which contributed to $1.9 billion of the revenue decline relative to the prior year. The Company recognized approximately $189 million of revenues during the 53rd week of 2017. Services and other revenues declined $609 million during 2017 as compared to 2016, primarily driven by a decline in service-related revenues of approximately $295 million, as well as a decline in revenues from Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. ("SHO") of approximately $208 million during 2017 as compared to 2016.
Kmart comparable store sales declined 11.4% for the full year primarily driven by declines in the pharmacy, grocery & household, home, drugstore, consumer electronics and apparel categories. Sears Domestic comparable

31


store sales for the year declined 15.2% primarily driven by decreases in the home appliances, apparel, consumer electronics and lawn & garden categories.
Gross Margin
Total gross margin declined $1.2 billion to $3.5 billion in 2017 as compared to the prior year primarily as a result of the above noted decline in sales, as well as a slight decline in gross margin rate, as the decline in gross margin rate for merchandise sales was partially offset by an improvement in gross margin rate for services and other. Gross margin for 2017 and 2016 included charges of $227 million and $226 million, respectively, related to store closures. Gross margin for 2017 and 2016 also included credits of $78 million and $88 million, respectively, related to the amortization of the deferred gain on sale of assets associated with the Seritage transaction, while 2016 also included one-time vendor credits of $33 million.
As compared to the prior year, Kmart's gross margin rate for 2017 increased 10 basis points, while Sears Domestic's gross margin rate decreased 60 basis points. Gross margin for Kmart and Sears Domestic were negatively impacted by expenses associated with store closures. Excluding the impact of significant items as noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, Kmart's gross margin rate would have improved 60 basis points in 2017 as compared to the prior year, while Sears Domestic's gross margin rate would have been flat to the prior year. The improvement in Kmart's gross margin rate was primarily driven by margin rate improvement in the apparel, home and drugstore categories, partially offset by a decline in the pharmacy category. Sears Domestic's gross margin rate for 2017 reflects improvement in the apparel category, which was offset by declines in the home appliances and tools categories. Kmart experienced lower clearance markdowns and Shop Your Way points expense, partially offset by an increase in promotional markdowns, while Sears Domestic experienced lower clearance markdowns, offset by an increase in both promotional markdowns and Shop Your Way points expense.
In addition, as a result of the Seritage and JV transactions, 2017 and 2016 included additional rent expense of approximately $169 million and $197 million, respectively. Due to the structure of the leases, we expect that our cash rent obligations to Seritage and the joint venture partners will decline, over time, as space in these stores is recaptured. From the inception of the Seritage transaction to date, we have received recapture notices on 55 properties and we also exercised our right to terminate the lease on 56 properties.
Selling and Administrative Expenses
Selling and administrative expenses decreased $978 million to $5.1 billion in 2017 from $6.1 billion in 2016 and included significant items, as noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, which aggregated to an expense of $893 million and $510 million for 2017 and 2016, respectively. Excluding these items, selling and administrative expenses declined $1.4 billion, primarily due to a decrease in payroll expense. In addition, advertising expense also declined as we continued to shift away from traditional advertising to use of Shop Your Way points expense, which is included within gross margin.
Selling and administrative expenses as a percentage of total revenues ("selling and administrative expense rate") were 30.7% and 27.6% for 2017 and 2016, respectively, as the decreases in overall selling and administrative expenses were more than offset by the above noted decline in revenues.
Depreciation and Amortization
Depreciation and amortization expense decreased by $43 million during 2017 to $332 million, as compared to 2016, primarily due to having fewer assets to depreciate.
Impairment Charges
We recorded impairment charges of $142 million in 2017, which consisted of impairment of $72 million related to the Sears trade name, as well as $70 million related to the impairment of long-lived assets. We recorded impairment charges of $427 million in 2016, which consisted of impairment of $381 million related to the Sears trade name, as well as $46 million related to the impairment of long-lived assets. Impairment charges recorded in both years are described further in Notes 1 and 13 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

32


Gain on Sales of Assets
We recorded total gains on sales of assets of $1.6 billion in 2017 and $247 million in 2016, which were primarily attributable to several significant real estate transactions. The gains recorded during 2017 included gains of $708 million recognized on the sale or amendment and lease terminations of 95 locations, $492 million recognized on the Craftsman Sale, $253 million as a result of recapture and lease termination activity and two stores that qualified for sales recognition and sale-leaseback accounting and $79 million related to other asset sales. Gains on sales of assets are described further in Note 11 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Operating Loss
We recorded an operating loss of $430 million and $2.0 billion in 2017 and 2016, respectively. The operating loss for 2017 included significant items, as noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, which totaled $1.0 billion, while operating loss for 2016 included significant items which totaled $615 million. Both 2017 and 2016 also included charges related to impairments, as well as gains on sales of assets. Taking these significant items into consideration, the decrease in operating loss in 2017 was primarily driven by the decrease in selling and administrative expenses, partially offset by the decline in gross margin noted above.
Interest Expense
We incurred $539 million and $404 million in interest expense during 2017 and 2016, respectively. The increase is due to an increase in average outstanding borrowings in 2017, as well as an increase in the annual weighted-average interest rate for our borrowings.
Interest and Investment Loss
We recorded interest and investment loss of $12 million during 2017 compared to $26 million during 2016. Interest and investment loss is described further in Note 6 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Income Taxes
We recorded an income tax benefit of $598 million in 2017 compared with an income tax benefit of $174 million in 2016. Our effective tax rate for 2017 was a benefit of 61.0% compared to a benefit of 7.3% for 2016. On December 22, 2017, the U.S. government enacted comprehensive tax legislation commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the "Tax Act"). The Tax Act makes broad and complex changes to the U.S. tax code that affected our fiscal year ended February 3, 2018, including, but not limited to, (1) reducing the U.S. federal corporate tax rate to 21%, (2) requiring a one-time transition tax on certain unrepatriated earnings of foreign subsidiaries that is payable over eight years and (3) various other miscellaneous changes that are effective in fiscal 2017. With the lower U.S. federal corporate rate effective beginning January 1, 2018, our U.S. federal corporate tax rate for fiscal 2017 is a blended rate of 33.717%. The income tax benefit for the period ended February 3, 2018 included a tax benefit of approximately $470 million related to the impacts of the Tax Act. In addition to the impact of the Tax Act, the Company also realized a significant tax benefit during 2017 on the reversal of deferred taxes mainly related to the Craftsman Sale, but also related to indefinite-life assets associated with property sold. Our tax rate in 2017 continues to reflect the effect of not recognizing the benefit of current period losses in certain domestic and foreign jurisdictions where it is more likely than not that such benefits would be realized. In addition, 2017 was negatively impacted by foreign branch taxes and state income taxes. 
During 2016, the Company realized a significant tax benefit on the deferred taxes related to the partial impairment of the Sears trade name. In addition, the Company recorded a tax benefit related to the net gain on pension and other postretirement benefits in continuing operations and a corresponding tax expense of the same amount in other comprehensive income. Also, the application of the requirements for accounting for income taxes, after consideration of our valuation allowance, caused a significant variation in the typical relationship between income tax expense and pretax income. Our tax rate in 2016 reflected the effect of not recognizing the benefit of current period losses in certain domestic and foreign jurisdictions where it was not more likely than not that such benefits would be realized. In addition, 2016 was negatively impacted by foreign branch taxes and state income taxes. 

33


2016 Compared to 2015
Net Loss Attributable to Holdings' Shareholders
We recorded a net loss attributable to Holdings' shareholders of $2.2 billion ($20.78 loss per diluted share) and $1.1 billion ($10.59 loss per diluted share) for 2016 and 2015, respectively. The increase in net loss for the year primarily reflected a decline in gross margin, which was driven by a decline in both revenues and gross margin rate, partially offset by a decrease in selling and administrative expenses.
Revenues and Comparable Store Sales
Total revenues decreased $3.0 billion, or 12.0%, to $22.1 billion in 2016, as compared to revenues of $25.1 billion in 2015, primarily driven by the decline in merchandise sales of $2.7 billion. The decline in merchandise sales included a decrease of $1.3 billion as a result of having fewer Kmart and Sears Full-line stores in operation. For the full year, comparable store sales declined 7.4%, which contributed to $1.4 billion of the revenue decline relative to the prior year. Services and other revenues declined $308 million during 2016 as compared to 2015, primarily driven by a decline in service-related revenues of approximately $30 million, as well as a decline in revenues from SHO of approximately $238 million during 2016 as compared to 2015.
Kmart comparable store sales declined 5.3% for the full year primarily driven by declines in the grocery & household, consumer electronics and pharmacy categories. Sears Domestic comparable store sales for the year declined 9.3% primarily driven by decreases in the home appliances, apparel and consumer electronics categories.
Gross Margin
Total gross margin declined $1.1 billion to $4.7 billion in 2016 from $5.8 billion in 2015 as a result of the above noted decline in sales, as well as a decline in gross margin rate, as the decline in gross margin rate for merchandise sales was partially offset by an improvement in gross margin rate for services and other. Gross margin for 2016 included one-time vendor credits of $33 million, as well as a credit of $88 million related to the amortization of the deferred gain on sale of assets associated with the Seritage transaction, while 2015 included one-time vendor credits of $146 million, as well as a credit of $52 million related to the amortization of the deferred gain on sale of assets associated with the Seritage transaction. Gross margin for 2016 and 2015 also included charges of $226 million and $44 million, respectively, related to store closures.
As compared to the prior year, Kmart's gross margin rate for 2016 declined 310 basis points. Excluding significant items primarily related to store closures as noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, Kmart's gross margin rate would have declined 130 basis points with margin rate declines experienced across most categories, most notably in the apparel, grocery & household, drugstore, home and pharmacy categories. Sears Domestic's gross margin rate for 2016 decreased 130 basis points. Excluding the impact of significant items in both years primarily related to the amortization of the deferred gain on sale of assets associated with the Seritage transaction, one-time vendor credits and store closures, Sears Domestic's gross margin rate declined 60 basis points, with the most notable decreases experienced in the apparel, home appliances and footwear categories. The decline in margin rate experienced in both Kmart and Sears Domestic is primarily attributable to increased markdowns, including an increase in Shop Your Way points expense.
In addition, as a result of the Seritage and JV transactions, 2016 and 2015 included additional rent expense and assigned sub-tenant rental income of approximately $197 million and $133 million, respectively.
Selling and Administrative Expenses
Selling and administrative expenses decreased $748 million to $6.1 billion in 2016 from $6.9 billion in 2015 and included significant items, as noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, which aggregated to an expense of $510 million and $365 million for 2016 and 2015, respectively. Excluding these items, selling and administrative expenses declined $893 million, primarily due to a decrease in payroll expense. In addition, advertising expense also declined as we continued to shift away from traditional advertising to use of Shop Your Way points expense, which is included within gross margin.

34


Selling and administrative expenses as a percentage of total revenues ("selling and administrative expense rate") were 27.6% and 27.3% for 2016 and 2015, respectively, as the decreases in overall selling and administrative expenses were more than offset by the above noted decline in revenues.
Depreciation and Amortization
Depreciation and amortization expense decreased by $47 million during 2016 to $375 million, as compared to 2015, primarily due to having fewer assets to depreciate.
Impairment Charges
We recorded impairment charges of $427 million in 2016, which consisted of impairment of $381 million related to the Sears trade name, as well as $46 million related to the impairment of long-lived assets. We recorded impairment charges of $274 million in 2015, which consisted of impairment of $180 million related to the Sears trade name, as well as $94 million related to the impairment of long-lived assets. Impairment charges recorded in both years are described further in Notes 1 and 13 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Gain on Sales of Assets
We recorded total gains on sales of assets of $247 million in 2016 and $743 million in 2015, which were primarily attributable to several significant real estate transactions. The gains recorded in 2015 included $508 million recognized in connection with the joint venture transactions and the sale-leaseback transaction with Seritage. Gains on sales of assets recorded in both years are described further in Note 11 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Operating Loss
We recorded an operating loss of $2.0 billion and $1.0 billion in 2016 and 2015, respectively. The operating loss for 2016 included significant items, as noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, which totaled $615 million, while operating loss for 2015 included significant items which totaled $211 million. Both 2016 and 2015 also included charges related to impairments, as well as gains on sales of assets. Taking these significant items into consideration, the decrease in operating loss in 2016 was primarily driven by the decrease in selling and administrative expenses, partially offset by the decline in gross margin noted above.
Interest Expense
We incurred $404 million and $323 million in interest expense during 2016 and 2015, respectively. The increase is due to an increase in average outstanding borrowings in 2016.
Interest and Investment Loss
We recorded interest and investment loss of $26 million during 2016 compared to interest and investment loss of $62 million during 2015. Interest and investment income loss is described further in Note 6 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Income Taxes
We recorded an income tax benefit of $174 million in 2016 compared with an income tax benefit of $257 million in 2015. Our effective tax rate for 2016 was a benefit of 7.3% compared to a benefit of 18.6% for 2015. During 2016, the Company realized a significant tax benefit on the deferred taxes related to the partial impairment of the Sears trade name. In addition, the Company recorded a tax benefit related to the net gain on pension and other postretirement benefits in continuing operations and a corresponding tax expense of the same amount in other comprehensive income. Also, the application of the requirements for accounting for income taxes, after consideration of our valuation allowance, caused a significant variation in the typical relationship between income tax expense and pretax income. Our tax rate in 2016 reflected the effect of not recognizing the benefit of current period losses in certain domestic and foreign jurisdictions where it was not more likely than not that such benefits would be realized. In addition, 2016 was negatively impacted by foreign branch taxes and state income taxes. 

35


The 2015 rate was favorably impacted by the significant tax benefit realized on the deferred taxes related to indefinite-life assets associated with the property sold in the transaction with Seritage and the tax benefit realized on the deferred taxes related to the partial impairment of the Sears trade name. These items were partially offset by foreign branch taxes and state income taxes. 
Business Segment Results
Kmart
Kmart results and key statistics were as follows:
dollars in millions
2017
 
2016
 
2015
Total revenues
$
5,618

 
$
8,650

 
$
10,188

Comparable store sales %
(11.4
)%
 
(5.3
)%
 
(7.3
)%
Cost of sales, buying and occupancy
4,601

 
7,093

 
8,042

Gross margin dollars
1,017

 
1,557

 
2,146

Gross margin rate
18.1
 %
 
18.0
 %
 
21.1
 %
Selling and administrative
1,455

 
2,175

 
2,537

Selling and administrative expense as a percentage of total revenues
25.9
 %
 
25.1
 %
 
24.9
 %
Depreciation and amortization
60

 
71

 
72

Impairment charges
16

 
22

 
14

Gain on sales of assets
(881
)
 
(181
)
 
(185
)
Total costs and expenses
5,251

 
9,180

 
10,480

Operating income (loss)
$
367

 
$
(530
)
 
$
(292
)
Adjusted EBITDA
$
(191
)
 
$
(302
)
 
$
(273
)
Total Kmart stores
432

 
735

 
941

2017 Compared to 2016
Revenues and Comparable Store Sales
Kmart’s revenues decreased by $3.0 billion to $5.6 billion in 2017, primarily due to the effect of having fewer stores in operation, which accounted for approximately $2.4 billion of the decline. Revenues were also impacted by a decrease in comparable store sales of 11.4%, which accounted for approximately $689 million of the decline. The Company recognized approximately $64 million of revenues during the 53rd week of 2017. The decline in comparable store sales was primarily driven by declines in the pharmacy, grocery & household, home, drugstore, consumer electronics and apparel categories.
Gross Margin
Kmart generated $1.0 billion in gross margin in 2017 compared to $1.6 billion in 2016. The decrease in Kmart’s gross margin is due to the above noted decrease in sales, partially offset by an increase in gross margin rate. Gross margin included charges related to store closures of $154 million and $187 million in 2017 and 2016, respectively, as well as credits of $11 million and $17 million in 2017 and 2016, respectively, related to the amortization of the deferred gain on sale of assets associated with the Seritage transaction.
Kmart's gross margin rate increased 10 basis points to 18.1% in 2017 from 18.0% in 2016. Excluding the impact of significant items, as noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, Kmart's gross margin rate would have improved 60 basis points in 2017 as compared to the prior year, primarily driven by margin rate improvement in the apparel, home and drugstore categories, partially offset by a decline in the pharmacy category. Kmart experienced lower clearance markdowns and Shop Your Way points expense, partially offset by an increase in promotional markdowns.

36


In addition, as a result of the Seritage and JV transactions, 2017 and 2016 included additional rent expense of approximately $21 million and $35 million, respectively.
Selling and Administrative Expenses
Kmart's selling and administrative expenses decreased $720 million in 2017. Selling and administrative expenses included significant items, as noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, which aggregated to expense of $104 million and $146 million for 2017 and 2016, respectively. Excluding these items, selling and administrative expenses decreased $678 million primarily due to decreases in payroll and advertising expenses.
Kmart's selling and administrative expense rate was 25.9% in 2017 and 25.1% in 2016 and increased primarily as a result of lower expense leverage due to the sales decline noted above.
Impairment charges
Kmart recorded impairment charges of $16 million and $22 million in 2017 and 2016, respectively, related to the impairment of long-lived assets. Impairment charges recorded during 2017 and 2016 are further described in Note 13 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Gain on Sales of Assets
Kmart recorded total gains on sales of assets of $881 million and $181 million in 2017 and 2016, respectively. The gains recorded during 2017 included gains of $492 million recognized on the Craftsman Sale, $164 million recognized on the sale or amendment and lease terminations of 43 locations, $43 million as a result of recapture and lease termination activity and $79 million related to other asset sales. Gains on sales of assets are described further in Note 11 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Operating Income (Loss)
Kmart recorded operating income of $367 million in 2017 as compared to an operating loss of $530 million in 2016. Operating income for 2017 included significant items, as noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, which totaled $247 million, while operating loss for 2016 included significant items which totaled $316 million. Both 2017 and 2016 also included gains on sales of assets, as well as charges related to impairments. Taking these significant items into consideration, the decrease in Kmart's operating loss was primarily driven by the decrease in selling and administrative expenses, partially offset by a decline in gross margin noted above.
2016 Compared to 2015
Revenues and Comparable Store Sales
Kmart’s revenues decreased by $1.5 billion to $8.7 billion in 2016, primarily due to the effect of having fewer stores in operation, which accounted for approximately $1.0 billion of the decline. Revenues were also impacted by a decrease in comparable store sales of 5.3%, which accounted for approximately $477 million of the decline. The decline in comparable store sales was primarily driven by declines in the grocery & household, consumer electronics and pharmacy categories.
Gross Margin
Kmart generated $1.6 billion in gross margin in 2016 compared to $2.1 billion in 2015. The decrease in Kmart’s gross margin is due to the above noted decrease in sales, as well as a decline in gross margin rate. Gross margin included significant items which aggregated to expense of $170 million and $28 million for 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Kmart's gross margin rate declined 310 basis points to 18.0% in 2016 from 21.1% in 2015. Excluding the impact of significant items primarily related to store closures, as noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, Kmart's gross margin rate would have declined 130 basis points due to margin rate declines experienced across most

37


categories, most notably in the apparel, grocery & household, drugstore, home and pharmacy categories driven by increased markdowns, including an increase in Shop Your Way points expense.
In addition, as a result of the Seritage and JV transactions, 2016 and 2015 included additional rent expense and assigned sub-tenant rental income of approximately $35 million and $25 million, respectively.
Selling and Administrative Expenses
Kmart's selling and administrative expenses decreased $362 million in 2016. Selling and administrative expenses included significant items, as noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, which aggregated to expense of $146 million and $90 million for 2016 and 2015, respectively. Excluding these items, selling and administrative expenses decreased $418 million primarily due to decreases in payroll and advertising expenses.
Kmart's selling and administrative expense rate was 25.1% in 2016 and 24.9% in 2015 and increased primarily as a result of lower expense leverage due to the sales decline noted above.
Impairment charges
Kmart recorded impairment charges of $22 million and $14 million in 2016 and 2015, respectively, related to the impairment of long-lived assets. Impairment charges recorded during 2016 and 2015 are further described in Note 13 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Gain on Sales of Assets
Kmart recorded total gains on sales of assets of $181 million and $185 million in 2016 and 2015, respectively. Gains on sales of assets recorded in both years are described further in Note 11 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Operating Loss
Kmart recorded an operating loss of $530 million in 2016 as compared to $292 million in 2015. Operating loss for 2016 included significant items, as noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, which totaled $316 million, while operating loss for 2015 included significant items which totaled $118 million. Both 2016 and 2015 also included gains on sales of assets, as well as charges related to impairments. Taking these significant items into consideration, the decrease in Kmart's operating loss was primarily driven by the decrease in selling and administrative expenses, partially offset by a decline in gross margin.

38


Sears Domestic
Sears Domestic results and key statistics were as follows:
dollars in millions
2017
 
2016
 
2015
Total revenues
$
11,084

 
$
13,488

 
$
14,958

Comparable store sales %
(15.2
)%
 
(9.3
)%
 
(11.1
)%
Cost of sales, buying and occupancy
8,574

 
10,359

 
11,294

Gross margin dollars
2,510

 
3,129

 
3,664

Gross margin rate
22.6
 %
 
23.2
 %
 
24.5
 %
Selling and administrative
3,676

 
3,934

 
4,320

Selling and administrative expense as a percentage of total revenues
33.2
 %
 
29.2
 %
 
28.9
 %
Depreciation and amortization
272

 
304

 
350

Impairment charges
126

 
405

 
260

Gain on sales of assets
(767
)
 
(66
)
 
(558
)
Total costs and expenses
11,881

 
14,936

 
15,666

Operating loss
$
(797
)
 
$
(1,448
)
 
$
(708
)
Adjusted EBITDA
$
(371
)
 
$
(506
)
 
$
(563
)
Number of:
 
 
 
 
 
Full-line stores
547

 
670

 
705

Specialty stores
23

 
25

 
26

Total Sears Stores
570

 
695

 
731


2017 Compared to 2016
Revenues and Comparable Store Sales
Sears Domestic's revenues decreased by $2.4 billion to $11.1 billion in 2017 as compared to 2016. This decline in revenues was primarily driven by a decrease in comparable store sales of 15.2%, which accounted for $1.2 billion of the decline, and the effect of having fewer Full-line stores in operation, which accounted for $760 million of the decline. The decline in Sears Domestic comparable store sales was primarily driven by decreases in the home appliances, apparel, consumer electronics and lawn & garden categories. The Company recognized approximately $125 million of revenues during the 53rd week of 2017. In addition, we also experienced a decline in revenues from SHO of approximately $208 million during 2017 as compared to 2016.
Gross Margin
Sears Domestic generated gross margin of $2.5 billion and $3.1 billion in 2017 and 2016, respectively, which included charges related to store closures of $73 million and $39 million in 2017 and 2016, respectively. Gross margin also included credits of $67 million and $71 million in 2017 and 2016, respectively, related to the amortization of the deferred gain on sale of assets associated with the Seritage transaction, while 2016 also included one-time vendor credits of $33 million.
Sears Domestic's gross margin rate for the year declined 60 basis points to 22.6% in 2017 from 23.2% in 2016. Excluding the impact of significant items in both years primarily related to store closures, the amortization of the deferred gain on sales of assets associated with the Seritage transaction and one-time vendor credits, Sears Domestic's gross margin rate in 2017 would have been flat to the prior year, which reflects improvement in the apparel category, which was offset by declines in the home appliances and tools categories. Sears Domestic experienced lower clearance markdowns, offset by an increase in both promotional markdowns and Shop Your Way points expense.

39


In addition, as a result of the Seritage and JV transactions, 2017 and 2016 included additional rent expense of approximately $148 million and $162 million, respectively.
Selling and Administrative Expenses
Sears Domestic’s selling and administrative expenses decreased $258 million in 2017 as compared to 2016 and included significant items, as noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, which aggregated to $789 million and $364 million for 2017 and 2016, respectively. Excluding these items, selling and administrative expenses decreased $683 million, primarily due to decreases in payroll and advertising expenses.
Sears Domestic's selling and administrative expense rate was 33.2% in 2017 and 29.2% in 2016 and increased as the above noted expense reduction was more than offset by the decline in sales noted above.
Depreciation and Amortization
Depreciation and amortization expense decreased by $32 million during 2017 to $272 million, as compared to 2016, primarily due to having fewer assets to depreciate.
Impairment Charges
Sears Domestic recorded impairment charges of $126 million in 2017 which consisted of impairment of $72 million related to the Sears trade name, as well as $54 million related to the impairment of long-lived assets. We recorded impairment charges of $405 million in 2016 which consisted of impairment of $381 million related to the Sears trade name, as well as $24 million related to the impairment of long-lived assets. Impairment charges recorded in both years are described further in Notes 1 and 13 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Gain on Sales of Assets
Sears Domestic recorded total gains on sales of assets of $767 million and $66 million in 2017 and 2016, respectively. The gains recorded during 2017 included gains of $544 million recognized on the sale or amendment and lease terminations of 52 locations and $210 million as a result of recapture and lease termination activity and two stores that qualified for sales recognition and sale-leaseback accounting. Gains on sales of assets are described further in Note 11 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Operating Loss
Sears Domestic reported an operating loss of $797 million in 2017 compared to $1.4 billion in 2016. Sears Domestic's operating loss in 2017 included significant items, as noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, which totaled $795 million, while operating loss for 2016 included significant items which totaled $299 million. Both 2017 and 2016 also included charges related to impairments, as well as gains on sales of assets. Taking these significant items into consideration, the decrease in Sears Domestic's operating loss in 2017 was driven by the decrease in selling and administrative expenses, partially offset by the decline in gross margin noted above.
2016 Compared to 2015
Revenues and Comparable Store Sales
Sears Domestic's revenues decreased by $1.5 billion to $13.5 billion in 2016 as compared to 2015. This decline in revenues was primarily driven by a decrease in comparable store sales of 9.3%, which accounted for $890 million of the decline, and the effect of having fewer Full-line stores in operation, which accounted for $241 million of the decline. The decline in Sears Domestic comparable store sales was primarily driven by decreases in the home appliances, apparel and consumer electronics categories. In addition, we also experienced a decline in revenues from SHO of approximately $238 million during 2016 as compared to 2015.

40


Gross Margin
Sears Domestic generated gross margin of $3.1 billion and $3.7 billion in 2016 and 2015, respectively, which included significant items which aggregated to additional gross margin of $65 million and $182 million for 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Sears Domestic's gross margin rate for the year declined 130 basis points to 23.2% in 2016 from 24.5% in 2015. Excluding the impact of significant items in both years primarily related to the amortization of the deferred gain on sales of assets associated with the Seritage transaction, one-time vendor credits and store closures, s noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, Sears Domestic's gross margin rate declined 60 basis points, with the most notable decreases experienced in the apparel, home appliances and footwear categories driven by increased markdowns, including an increase in Shop Your Way points expense.
In addition, as a result of the Seritage and JV transactions, 2016 and 2015 included additional rent expense and assigned sub-tenant rental income of approximately $162 million and $108 million, respectively.
Selling and Administrative Expenses
Sears Domestic’s selling and administrative expenses decreased $386 million in 2016 as compared to 2015 and included significant items, as noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, which aggregated to $364 million and $275 million for 2016 and 2015, respectively. Excluding these items, selling and administrative expenses decreased $475 million, primarily due to decreases in payroll and advertising expenses.
Sears Domestic's selling and administrative expense rate was 29.2% in 2016 and 28.9% in 2015 and increased as the above noted expense reduction was more than offset by the decline in sales noted above.
Depreciation and Amortization
Depreciation and amortization expense decreased by $46 million during 2016 to $304 million, as compared to 2015, primarily due to having fewer assets to depreciate.
Impairment Charges
Sears Domestic recorded impairment charges of $405 million in 2016 which consisted of impairment of $381 million related to the Sears trade name, as well as $24 million related to the impairment of long-lived assets. We recorded impairment charges of $260 million in 2015 which consisted of impairment of $180 million related to the Sears trade name, as well as $80 million related to the impairment of long-lived assets. Impairment charges recorded in both years are described further in Notes 1 and 13 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Gain on Sales of Assets
Sears Domestic recorded total gains on sales of assets of $66 million and $558 million in 2016 and 2015, respectively. The gains recorded in 2015 included $371 million recognized in connection with the joint venture transactions and the sale-leaseback transaction with Seritage. Gains on sales of assets recorded in both years are described further in Note 11 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Operating Loss
Sears Domestic reported an operating loss of $1.4 billion in 2016 compared to $708 million in 2015. Sears Domestic's operating loss in 2016 included significant items, as noted in the Adjusted EBITDA tables, which totaled $299 million, while operating loss for 2015 included significant items which totaled $93 million. Both 2016 and 2015 also included charges related to impairments, as well as gains on sales of assets. Taking these significant items into consideration, the decrease in Sears Domestic's operating loss in 2016 was driven by the decrease in selling and administrative expenses, partially offset by the above noted decline in gross margin.

41


ANALYSIS OF CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL CONDITION
Cash Balances
Our cash and cash equivalents include all highly liquid investments with original maturities of three months or less at the date of purchase. Our cash balances as of February 3, 2018 and January 28, 2017 are detailed in the following table.
millions
February 3,
2018
 
January 28,
2017
Cash and equivalents
$
113

 
$
196

Cash posted as collateral
4

 
3

Credit card deposits in transit
65

 
87

Total cash and cash equivalents
182

 
286

Restricted cash
154

 

Total cash balances
$
336

 
$
286

We had total cash balances of $336 million and $286 million at February 3, 2018 and January 28, 2017, respectively.
At various times, we have posted cash collateral for certain outstanding letters of credit and self-insurance programs. Such cash collateral is classified within cash and cash equivalents given we have the ability to substitute letters of credit at any time for this cash collateral and it is therefore readily available to us. Our invested cash may include, from time to time, investments in, but not limited to, commercial paper, federal, state and municipal government securities, floating-rate notes, repurchase agreements and money market funds. Cash amounts held in these short-term investments are readily available to us. Credit card deposits in transit include deposits in transit from banks for payments related to third-party credit card and debit card transactions. The Company classifies cash balances that are legally restricted pursuant to contractual arrangements as restricted cash. The restricted cash balance relates to amounts deposited into an escrow for the benefit of our pension plans.
We classify outstanding checks in excess of funds on deposit within other current liabilities and reduce cash balances when these checks clear the bank on which they were drawn. Outstanding checks in excess of funds on deposit were $74 million and $29 million as of February 3, 2018 and January 28, 2017, respectively.
Operating Activities
The Company used $1.8 billion of cash in its operations during 2017, $1.4 billion during 2016 and $2.2 billion during 2015. Our primary source of operating cash flows is the sale of goods and services to customers, while the primary use of cash in operations is the purchase of merchandise inventories and the payment of operating expenses. We used more cash in operations in 2017 compared to 2016 primarily due to declines in merchandise payables and other liabilities, partially offset by a decline in merchandise inventories. We used less cash in operations in 2016 compared to 2015 primarily due to a decrease in our net inventory.
Merchandise inventories were $2.8 billion and $4.0 billion, respectively, at February 3, 2018 and January 28, 2017, while merchandise payables were approximately $0.6 billion and $1.0 billion, respectively, at February 3, 2018 and January 28, 2017. Our inventory balances decreased approximately $1.2 billion primarily due to both store closures and improved productivity. Sears Domestic inventory decreased in virtually all categories, with the most notable decreases in the apparel, tools and home appliances categories. Kmart inventory decreased in all categories with the most notable decreases in the apparel, home, drugstore and grocery & household categories.
Investing Activities
We generated net cash flows from investing activities of $1.9 billion in 2017, $244 million in 2016 and $2.5 billion in 2015.
For 2017, net cash flows from investing activities consisted of cash proceeds from the sale of properties and investments of $1.1 billion, proceeds from the Craftsman Sale of $572 million and proceeds from the sale of

42


receivables of $293 million, partially offset by cash used for capital expenditures of $80 million. For 2016, net cash flows from investing activities primarily consisted of cash proceeds from the sale of properties and investments of $386 million, partially offset by cash used for capital expenditures of $142 million. For 2015, net cash flows from investing activities primarily consisted of cash proceeds from the sale of properties and investments of $2.7 billion, partially offset by cash used for capital expenditures of $211 million. Proceeds from the sales of properties and investments in 2015 included approximately $2.6 billion of net proceeds from the Seritage transaction.
We spent $80 million, $142 million and $211 million during 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively, for capital expenditures. Capital expenditures during all three years primarily included investments in online and mobile shopping capabilities, enhancements to the Shop Your Way platform, information technology infrastructure and store maintenance.
We anticipate 2018 capital expenditure levels to be similar to 2017 levels. In the normal course of business, we consider opportunities to purchase leased operating properties, as well as offers to sell owned, or assign leased, operating and non-operating properties. These transactions may, individually or in the aggregate, result in material proceeds or outlays of cash and cause our capital expenditure levels to vary from period to period. In addition, we review leases that will expire in the short term in order to determine the appropriate action to take with respect to them.
Financing Activities
During 2017, the Company used net cash flows in financing activities of $2 million, which consisted of debt repayments of $1.4 billion and the payment of debt issuance costs of $43 million, offset by proceeds from debt issuances of $1.0 billion, an increase in short-term borrowings of $271 million and $106 million of net cash proceeds received from sale-leaseback financing transactions.
During 2016, we generated net cash flows from financing activities of $1.2 billion, which consisted of proceeds from debt issuances of $2.0 billion and $71 million of net cash proceeds received from a sale-leaseback financing transaction for five Sears Full-line stores and two Sears Auto Centers that have continuing involvement, partially offset by a decrease in short-term borrowings of $797 million, debt repayments of $66 million and the payment of debt issuance costs of $51 million.
During 2015, the Company used net cash flows in financing activities of $364 million, which consisted of debt repayments of $1.4 billion, of which $927 million was the purchase of Senior Secured Notes pursuant to the tender offer and $400 million was the repayment of the secured short-term loan, the payment of debt issuance costs of $50 million related to the amendment and extension of our Domestic Credit Facility and fees related to the tender offer related to our Senior Secured Notes. These uses of cash were partially offset by an increase in short-term borrowings of $583 million and $508 million of net cash proceeds from sale-leaseback financing, which consisted of $426 million of proceeds from the JV transactions received during 2015 and $82 million of proceeds received in 2015 related to four joint venture properties that have continuing involvement.
During 2017, 2016 and 2015, we did not repurchase any of our common shares under our share repurchase program. The common share repurchase program was initially announced in 2005 and had a total authorization since inception of the program of $6.5 billion. At February 3, 2018, we had approximately $504 million of remaining authorization under the program. The common share repurchase program has no stated expiration date and share repurchases may be implemented using a variety of methods, which may include open market purchases, privately negotiated transactions, block trades, accelerated share repurchase transactions, the purchase of call options, the sale of put options or otherwise, or by any combination of such methods.
Uses and Sources of Liquidity
Our primary need for liquidity is to fund working capital requirements of our businesses, capital expenditures and for general corporate purposes, including debt repayments and pension plan contributions. The Company has taken a number of actions to support its ongoing transformation efforts, while continuing to support its operations and meet its obligations in light of the incurred losses and negative cash flows experienced over the past several years. These actions included:

43


The completion of various secured and unsecured financing transactions, the extension of the maturity of certain of our indebtedness, and the amendment to other terms of certain of our indebtedness to increase our overall financial flexibility, including:
a $750 million Senior Secured Term Loan (the "2016 Term Loan") under its domestic credit facility maturing in July 2020;
a $500 million real estate loan facility in April 2016 (the "2016 Secured Loan Facility"), initially maturing in July 2017, initially extended to January 2018, subsequently extended to April 2018, and then further extended to July 2018, subject to the payment of an extension fee;
an additional $500 million real estate loan facility in January 2017 (the "2017 Secured Loan Facility"), maturing in July 2020;
a Second Lien Credit Agreement in September 2016, pursuant to which the Company borrowed $300 million under a term loan (the "Second Lien Term Loan"), maturing in July 2020;
an amendment in July 2017 to the Second Lien Credit Agreement to provide for the creation of a $500 million uncommitted second-lien line of credit loan facility under which the Company may borrow line of credit loans (the "Line of Credit Loans"), and a subsequent amendment to that facility to extend the maximum duration of the Line of Credit Loans from 180 days to 270 days and permit total borrowings of up to $600 million;
a Letter of Credit and Reimbursement Agreement in December 2016, originally providing for up to a $500 million secured standby letter of credit facility (the "LC Facility") from certain affiliates of ESL Investments, Inc. ("ESL");
a $200 million real estate loan facility (the "Incremental Loans") in October 2017, with the Incremental Loans maturing in April 2018, with the option to extend to July 2018, subject to the extension of the 2016 Secured Loan Facility;
the extension of the maturity date of the initial $1.0 billion term loan (the "Term Loan") under our Amended Domestic Credit Agreement from June 2018 to January 2019 (with a right of the borrowers thereunder to further extend such maturity, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, to July 2019);
amendments to our Amended Domestic Credit Agreement and certain other indebtedness which reduced the aggregate revolver commitments from $1.971 billion to $1.5 billion, but also implemented other modifications to covenants and reserves against the domestic credit facility borrowing base that improved net liquidity, and increased the maximum permissible short-term borrowings of the Company from $750 million to $1.25 billion;
a Term Loan Credit Agreement in January 2018 providing for a secured term loan facility (the "Term Loan Facility"), secured by substantially all of the unencumbered intellectual property of the Company and its subsidiaries, other than intellectual property relating to the Kenmore and DieHard brands, as well as by certain real property interests, in each case subject to certain exclusions. An aggregate principal amount of $250 million was borrowed with the ability to borrow an additional $50 million against the same collateral;
an amendment to the indenture governing our 6 5/8% Senior Secured Notes due 2018 to increase the maximum permissible borrowings secured by inventory to 75% of book value of such inventory from 65% and defer the collateral coverage test for purposes of the repurchase offer covenant in the indenture to restart it with the second quarter of 2018 (such that no collateral coverage event can occur until the end of the third quarter of 2018);
an amendment to the March 2016 Pension Plan Protection and Forbearance Agreement (the "PPPFA") with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (the "PBGC") providing for the release of 138 of our properties from a ring-fence arrangement created under our five-year PPPFA in exchange for the payment of approximately $407 million into the Sears pension plans. This agreement provides the Company with financial flexibility through the ability to monetize properties, and, in addition, provides funding relief from contributions to the pension plans for the next two years; and

44


various commercial paper issuances to meet short-term liquidity needs, with the maximum amount outstanding during fiscal 2017 of $160 million.
Achievement of $1.25 billion in annualized cost savings in 2017 as part of the restructuring program announced earlier this year. Actions taken to realize the annualized cost savings have included simplification of the organizational structure of Holdings, streamlining of operations, reducing unprofitable categories and the closure of under-performing stores. In 2017, we closed approximately 435 stores, and an additional 103 stores previously announced for closure are expected to be closed by the end of the first quarter of 2018. As a result of these actions, the Company has begun to see improvement in the operations in fiscal 2017, as the restructuring program actions, including the closing of unprofitable stores, have begun to take effect.
The sale of the Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker for consideration consisting of cash payments and a royalty.
Sales of properties and investments for proceeds of $1.1 billion and $386 million in 2017 and 2016, respectively.
On March 8, 2018, the Company secured an additional $100 million incremental real estate loan (the "Second Incremental Loan"), pursuant to an amendment to the Second Amended and Restated Loan Agreement, dated as of October 18, 2017, with JPP, LLC and JPP II, LLC, entities affiliated with ESL Investments, Inc. The Second Incremental Loan is secured by the same real estate properties as the 2017 Secured Loan Facility, and certain properties under the previous Incremental Loans outstanding, and matures in July 2020. The Company used the proceeds from the Incremental Loan for general corporate purposes.
In March 2018, the Company also closed on the $200 million Secured Loan and the $240 million Mezzanine Loan, both as defined in Note 3 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, in connection with the release of 138 of our properties from the ring-fence arrangement with the PBGC as described above. The properties, which have an aggregate appraised value of nearly $980 million, serve as collateral for the Secured Loan, and the Mezzanine Loan is secured by pledge of the equity interests in the direct parent company of the entities that own such properties. The Company contributed approximately $282 million of the proceeds of such loans to our pension plans, and deposited $125 million into an escrow for the benefit of our pension plans. The Mezzanine Loan Agreement, as defined in Note 3 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, contains an uncommitted accordion feature pursuant to which we may incur additional loans of not more than $200 million in aggregate, subject to certain conditions, including that such additional loans not exceed an amount equal to the principal amount of the Secured Loan repaid. The Company expects to pay down the Secured Loan over the next three to six months using proceeds generated from the sale of the underlying properties.
In February 2018, the Company commenced private exchange offers for its outstanding 8% Senior Unsecured Notes Due 2019 and 6 5/8% Senior Secured Notes Due 2018 (the "Exchange Offers"), pursuant to which it offered to (1) issue in exchange for its outstanding 8% Senior Unsecured Notes Due 2019 (the "Old Senior Unsecured Notes") new 8% Senior Unsecured Notes Due 2019, of a like principal amount, convertible into common stock of the Company, with interest on such notes to be payable in kind at the Company's option (the "New Senior Unsecured Notes"), and (2) issue in exchange for its outstanding 6 5/8% Senior Secured Notes Due 2018 (the "Old Senior Secured Notes") new 6 5/8% Senior Secured Notes Due 2019, of a like principal amount, convertible into common stock of the Company, with interest on such notes to be payable in kind at the Company's option (the "New Senior Secured Notes"). The Exchange Offers expired on March 15, 2018. Approximately $214 million aggregate principal amount of the Old Senior Unsecured Notes and approximately $170 million aggregate principal amount of the Old Senior Secured Notes were validly tendered, accepted and canceled in the Exchange Offers, and the Company issued a like principal amount of New Senior Unsecured Notes and New Senior Secured Notes. The New Senior Unsecured Notes and New Senior Secured Notes are optionally convertible by the holders thereof into shares of the Company’s common stock at conversion prices of $8.33 and $5.00, respectively, per share of common stock, and are mandatorily convertible at the Company's option if the volume weighted average trading price of the common stock on the NASDAQ exceeds $10.00 for a prescribed period. In connection with the closing of the Exchange Offers, the Company also obtained the requisite consent of holders of Old Senior Secured Notes to adopt amendments to the indenture governing those notes to eliminate substantially all of the restrictive covenants and certain events of default in the indenture, and make the liens securing senior second lien obligations, including the new Senior

45


Secured Notes and the Second Lien Term Loan described below, effectively senior to the liens securing junior second lien obligations, including the Old Senior Secured Notes.
Also in connection with the closing of the Exchange Offers, the Company entered into an amendment to its Second Lien Credit Agreement. The amendment provides the Company with the option to pay interest on its outstanding $300 million principal amount Second Lien Term Loan in kind, and also provides that the Company's obligation under the Second Lien Term Loan is convertible into common stock of the Company, on the same conversion terms as the New Senior Secured Notes. Also in connection with the closing of the Exchange Offers, the Company’s subsidiary, Sears Roebuck Acceptance Corp. ("SRAC"), consummated a private exchange with certain third parties of approximately $100 million in principal amount of senior unsecured notes issued by SRAC maturing between 2027 and 2043 and bearing interest at rates between 6.50% and 7.50% per annum, pursuant to which SRAC issued a like principal amount of new unsecured notes (the "SRAC Exchange Notes"). The SRAC Exchange Notes mature in March 2028 and bear interest at a rate of 7.0% per annum, and provide the Company with the option to pay such interest in kind at an interest rate of 12.0% per annum. The SRAC Exchange Notes are also guaranteed by the same subsidiaries of the Company that guarantee the New Senior Secured Notes.
On March 21, 2018, we obtained a $125 million FILO term loan (the "FILO Loan") from JPP, LLC and JPP II, LLC, entities affiliated with ESL, and Benefit Street 2018 LLC, an entity affiliated with Thomas J. Tisch, under our Amended Domestic Credit Agreement. The Company received approximately $122 million in net proceeds from the FILO Loan, which proceeds were using to reduce outstanding borrowings under our revolving credit facility. The FILO Loan has a maturity date of July 20, 2020, which is the same maturity date as the Company's revolving credit facility commitments, and does not amortize.
In addition to pursuing several transactions to adjust our capital structure in order to enhance our liquidity and financial position, the Company is also taking incremental actions to further streamline operations to drive profitability, including cost reductions of $200 million on an annualized basis in 2018 unrelated to store closures.
In addition to the actions taken above, the Company has other resources available to support its operations. Our domestic credit facility permits us up to $2.0 billion of second lien loan capacity (of which $1.1 billion was utilized at February 3, 2018) outside the credit agreement, all depending on the applicable and available borrowing base as defined in our applicable debt agreements, as well as our ability to secure commitments from lenders. We also have the ability to obtain longer-term secured financing maturing outside of the domestic credit facility maturity date which would not be subject to borrowing base limitations (see Note 3 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements). Other options available to us, which we will evaluate and execute as appropriate, include refinancing existing debt, borrowing against facilities in place with availability and additional real estate loans against unencumbered properties, which we have successfully executed in the past.
We also continue to explore ways to unlock value across a range of assets, including entering into or renegotiating commercial arrangements, and exploring ways to maximize the value of our Home Services, Innovel and Sears Auto Centers businesses, as well as our Kenmore and DieHard brands, through partnerships, sales or other means of externalization that could expand distribution of our brands and service offerings to realize significant growth. We expect to continue to right-size, redeploy and highlight the value of our assets, including monetizing our real estate portfolio and exploring potential asset sales, in our transition from an asset intensive, historically "store-only" based retailer to a more asset light, integrated membership-focused company.
We expect to continue to face a challenging competitive environment. While we continue to focus on our overall profitability, including managing expenses, we reported a loss in 2017, and were required to fund cash used in operating activities with cash from investing and financing activities. If we continue to experience operating losses, and we are not able to generate additional liquidity through the actions described below or through some combination of other actions, including real estate or other asset sales, while not expected, then our liquidity needs may exceed availability under our Amended Domestic Credit Agreement, our second lien line of credit loan facility and our other existing facilities, and we might need to secure additional sources of funds, which may or may not be available to us. A failure to secure such additional funds could cause us to be in default under the Amended Domestic Credit Agreement. Moreover, if the borrowing base (as calculated pursuant to our outstanding second lien debt) falls below the principal amount of such second lien debt plus the principal amount of any other indebtedness for borrowed money that is secured by liens on the collateral for such debt on the last day of any two consecutive quarters, it could trigger an obligation to repurchase our New Senior Secured Notes in an amount equal to such

46


deficiency. As of February 3, 2018, we are in a deferral period of the collateral coverage test and the calculation restarts in the second quarter of 2018 (such that no collateral coverage event can occur until the end of the third quarter of 2018). Additionally, a failure to generate additional liquidity could negatively impact our access to inventory or services that are important to the operation of our business.
We believe the following actions, some of which we expect, subject to our governance processes, to include related party participation and funding, are probable of occurring and will be sufficient to satisfy our liquidity needs for the next twelve months from the issuance of the financial statements:
Sales of the properties securing the $200 million Secured Loan to fund the repayment of such Secured Loan;
Additional borrowings under the Mezzanine Loan Agreement and the Term Loan Facility;
Renegotiation of certain commercial arrangements;
Monetization of the Kenmore brand;
Extension of maturities beyond March 2019 of Line of Credit Loans under the Second Lien Credit Agreement, the 2016 Secured Loan Facility, the Incremental Secured Loan Facility and the LC Facility and the Term Loan under the Amended Domestic Credit Agreement;
Additional borrowings secured by real estate assets or borrowings under the short-term basket; and
Further restructurings to help manage expenses and improve profitability.
The PPPFA contains certain limitations on our ability to sell assets, which could impact our ability to complete asset sale transactions or our ability to use proceeds from those transactions to fund our operations. Therefore, the analysis of liquidity needs includes consideration of the applicable restrictions under the PPPFA. We expect that the actions outlined above will further enhance our liquidity and financial flexibility and we expect that these actions will be executed in alignment with the anticipated timing of our liquidity needs.
Our outstanding borrowings at February 3, 2018 and January 28, 2017 were as follows:
millions
February 3,
2018
 
January 28,
2017
Short-term borrowings:
 
 
 
Unsecured commercial paper
$

 
$

Secured borrowings
271

 

Line of credit loans
500

 

Incremental loans
144

 

Long-term debt, including current portion:
 
 
 
Notes, term loan and debentures outstanding
3,145

 
4,018

Capitalized lease obligations
72

 
145

Total borrowings
$
4,132

 
$
4,163


47


We fund our peak sales season working capital needs through our domestic revolving credit facility and commercial paper markets and secured short-term debt.
millions
2017
 
2016
Secured borrowings:
 
 
 
Maximum daily amount outstanding during the period
$
799

 
$
1,150

Average amount outstanding during the period
374

 
334

Amount outstanding at period-end
271

 

Weighted average interest rate
6.2
%
 
4.6
%
 
 
 
 
Unsecured commercial paper:
 
 
 
Maximum daily amount outstanding during the period
$
160

 
$
250

Average amount outstanding during the period
26

 
106

Amount outstanding at period-end

 

Weighted average interest rate
9.1
%
 
7.9
%
 
 
 
 
Line of credit loans:
 
 
 
Maximum daily amount outstanding during the period
$
500

 
$

Average amount outstanding during the period
214

 

Amount outstanding at period-end
500

 

Weighted average interest rate
10.2
%
 
%
Information about our Domestic Credit Agreement, Letter of Credit Facility, Secured Loan and Mezzanine Loan, Term Loan Facility, 2017 Secured Loan Facility, 2016 Secured Loan Facility, Second Lien Credit Agreement, Old Senior Secured Notes and New Senior Secured Notes, Old Senior Unsecured Notes and New Senior Unsecured Notes, Unsecured Commercial Paper, Secured Short-Term Loan and Wholly-owned Insurance Subsidiary and Intercompany Securities is included in Note 3 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Domestic Pension Plans Funding
Contributions to our pension plans remain a significant use of our cash on an annual basis. While the Company's pension plans are frozen, and thus associates do not currently earn pension benefits, the Company has a legacy pension obligation for past service performed by Kmart and Sears associates. During 2017, we contributed $295 million to our domestic pension plans, including amounts contributed from the escrow created pursuant to the PPPFA. We estimate that our minimum pension funding obligations will be approximately $280 million in 2018 (excluding the $20 million supplemental payment described below) and approximately $276 million in 2019. As previously noted, the Company agreed to grant the PBGC a lien on, and subsequently contribute to the Company's pension plans, the value of the $250 million cash payment payable to the Company on the third anniversary of the Craftsman closing (the "Craftsman Receivable"). During the 13 weeks ended July 29, 2017, we sold the Craftsman Receivable to a third-party purchaser, and deposited the proceeds into an escrow for the benefit of our pension plans. We subsequently contributed a portion of the proceeds received from the sale of the Craftsman Receivable to our pension plans, which contribution was credited against the Company's minimum pension funding obligations in 2017. Under our agreement with the PBGC, the remaining proceeds will also be contributed to our pension plans, and when so contributed, will be fully credited against the Company's minimum pension funding obligations in 2018 and 2019.
The Company also agreed to grant a lien to the PBGC on the 15-year income stream relating to new Stanley Black & Decker sales of Craftsman products, and agreed to contribute the payments from Stanley Black & Decker under such income stream to the Company's pension plans, with such payments to be credited against the Company's minimum pension funding obligations starting no later than five years from the closing date. The Company also

48


agreed to grant the PBGC a lien on $100 million of real estate assets to secure the Company's minimum pension obligations through the end of 2019.
In November 2017, the Company announced an amendment to the PPPFA that allowed the Company to pursue the monetization of 138 of our properties that were subject to a ring-fence arrangement created under the PPPFA. In March 2018, the Company closed on the Secured Loan and the Mezzanine Loan, which transactions released the properties from the ring-fence arrangement. The Company contributed approximately $282 million of the proceeds of such loans to our pension plans, and deposited $125 million into an escrow for the benefit of our pension plans. Under our agreement with the PBGC, the escrowed amount will also be contributed to our pension plans and, when so contributed, will be fully credited against the Company’s minimum pension funding obligations in 2018 and 2019 described above. Following such transactions, the Company has been relieved of contributions to our pension plans for approximately two years (other than the contributions from escrow described above and a $20 million supplemental payment due in the second quarter of 2018). The ultimate amount of pension contributions could be affected by factors such as changes in applicable laws, as well as financial market and investment performance and demographic changes.

49


Contractual Obligations and Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
Information concerning our obligations and commitments to make future payments under contracts such as debt and lease agreements, and under contingent commitments, is aggregated in the following table.
 
Total
 
Payments Due by Period
Contractual Obligations
 
Within 1  Year
 
1-3 Years
 
3-5 Years 
 
After 5  Years
 
Other
millions
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Operating leases
$
2,839

 
$
537

 
$
807

 
$
534

 
$
961

 
$

Short-term borrowings
915

 
915

 

 

 

 

Capital lease obligations
115

 
28

 
21

 
8

 
58

 

Royalty license fees(1)
60

 
36

 
24

 

 

 

Other
2

 
2

 

 

 

 

Pension funding obligations(2)
1,682

 
280

 
485

 
431

 
486

 

Long-term debt including current portion and interest
4,155

 
1,222

 
2,381

 
40

 
512

 

Liability and interest related to uncertain tax positions(3)
181