(SACBEE) — After a disastrous holiday shopping season, the parent company of Sears and Kmart will close at least 100 stores to raise cash – a move that sparked speculation about whether the 125-year-old retailer can avoid a death spiral fed by declining sales and deteriorating stores.

Sears Holdings Corp., a pillar of American retailing that famously began with a mail-order catalog in the 1880s, declared Tuesday that it would no longer prop up “marginally performing” locations. The company pledged to refocus its efforts on stores that make money.

Sears’ stock quickly plunged, dropping 27 percent.

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