Sears' head of real estate is stepping down

  • The head of Sears' real estate division, Jeff Stollenwerck, is leaving the company.
  • He's been with the retailer for more than 15 years.
  • The news comes as Sears continues to shed its unprofitable stores.
People walk by a Sears store in a nearly-empty Westfield Meriden shopping mall in Meriden, Connecticut.
Getty Images
People walk by a Sears store in a nearly-empty Westfield Meriden shopping mall in Meriden, Connecticut.

The head of Sears Holdings' real estate division, Jeff Stollenwerck, is preparing to step down from his role with the department store chain, a company spokesman told CNBC Tuesday.

Stollenwerck has been with Sears for 15 years, leading the retailer through countless asset sales and serving a key role in 2015 when Sears spun off roughly 250 properties to form real estate investment trust Seritage.

"We appreciate [Stollenwerck's] service leading the real estate business unit and wish him well in his future endeavors," Sears said in an emailed statement. "Our strong bench of talent for our Real Estate business unit and among the leadership team will ensure a smooth transition."

Before joining Sears, Stollenwerck worked on Kmart's real estate team up until it merged with the department store chain in 2005. He was also once an employee of Sears CEO Eddie Lampert's hedge fund, ESL Investments.

"I've enjoyed my time with [Sears] and working closely with Eddie and the other leaders. ... I'm ready for a new challenge and I wish all of Sears Holdings the very best in the future," Stollenwerck said in an emailed statement.

The news comes as Sears continues to shed its unprofitable stores.

Earlier this year, the company announced another round of roughly 100 store closures that are set to be completed this month. Seritage meanwhile said this month it will be taking back nine locations from Sears and redeveloping those spaces. 16 other Sears stores are being auctioned online.

Sears operated slightly more than 1,000 locations in total at the end of fiscal 2017, compared with 1,430 the year before. The company once had more than 4,000 stores.