(Bloomberg)—Sears Holdings Corp. suffered its worst stock decline in six weeks after acknowledging “substantial doubt” about its future, raising fresh concerns about whether a company that was once the world’s largest retailer can survive.
Sears added so-called going-concern language to its latest annual report filing, suggesting that weak earnings have cast a pall on its ability to keep operating. The 131-year-old department-store chain, which has lost more than $10 billion in recent years, was cited last year by Fitch Ratings as a company at high risk of defaulting.
The disclosure comes after more optimistic signs from the company, which has been working on a turnaround under Chief Executive Officer Eddie Lampert. Sears posted a narrower loss than predicted in the fourth quarter, and it has pledged to lower its debt burden and cut annual expenses by at least $1 billion. That upbeat assessment had helped propel the stock in recent weeks. The shares had gained more than 60 percent since Feb. 9.
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