16 Sears stores are being auctioned online

Key Points
  • Cushman & Wakefield is teaming with Real Insight Marketplace to sell the Sears stores online.
  • Sixteen locations are up for grabs, and bids are due by May 1.
  • The department store chain has been unwinding its assets in hopes of raising liquidity and getting back to profitability.
Over a dozen Sears stores are up for auction online
Over a dozen Sears stores are up for auction online

More than a dozen of Sears Holdings' stores are being auctioned online.

Commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield is teaming with Real Insight Marketplace, an online bidding platform, to help unwind some of the department store chain's assets.

The 16 properties, all under the Sears banner, are mostly attached to malls and located in suburban markets. Five are in Texas, four are in Missouri, three are in Indiana, three are in Ohio and one is in Michigan.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Tuesday evening on the auctioning. A representative from Sears didn't immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

According to Cushman & Wakefiled, roughly 200 investor groups have expressed interest in bidding on the properties, the Journal said. All bids are due by May 1, Real Insight Marketplace's website says.

Sears has been unwinding assets in hopes of raising liquidity and getting back to profitability. At the beginning of the year, it announced plans to close more than 100 stores by April.

Most recently, the company said it raised enough money to pay $407 million toward its pension plan in order to unlock and allow for the sale of 140 other properties. Sears hasn't yet said when those sales will take place.

In the latest quarter, Sears' revenue fell nearly 28 percent. Same-store sales were down more than 15 percent. The company hopes to lure shoppers back with its large selection of mattresses and appliances, and a growing loyalty platform that includes partners Uber, GasBuddy and fuboTV.

Real estate investment trusts have welcomed the opportunity to take back control of a Sears location and either bring in a tenant that is able to pay more rent per square foot or move Sears into a smaller location.

Just last week, for example, Pennsylvania REIT announced it would be moving off-price chain Five Below and TJX's HomeGoods into a space once occupied by Sears.

Simon Property Group on Monday laid out plans to redevelop five former Sears stores, with plans to bring in dining halls, residential space, fitness centers and new retailers to those properties.

"The preferred choice here is if someone will come in to make a sales lease-back deal," James Shevlin, managing director at CWCapital, a commercial real estate services firm that owns Real Insight Marketplace, told CNBC. "We are seeing tremendous interest in these deals. And this is a tough market right now."

The future owners of the 16 Sears stores should be decided by the end of May, he said.