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Sears’ REIT Goes Public

Seritage Growth Properties, Sears Holdings Corp.’s real-estate investment trust (REIT), raised about $1.6 billion on Monday after it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at $36.02 per share.

Since opening under the symbol “SRG,” the stock climbed as much as 3.6 percent in early afternoon trading to reach $37.30.

After announcing its fourth straight year of falling profit and revenue, the 129-year-old retailer announced its plan in April to raise more than $2.5 billion through the sale of about 235 Sears and Kmart branded properties and 31 joint-venture interests to the REIT. That sale is expected to close Tuesday.

All but 11 of the properties will then be leased back to Sears.

However, an uninspired earnings report for the most recent quarter (revenue plunged year-over-year by 25.4 percent as comparable-store sales continued to slide) as well as dwindling shares (down 1.7 percent to $25.11 on Monday) have many analysts predicting the REIT will buy Sears little more than time.

Last month, a shareholder sued the retailer to stop the sale to Seritage, alleging the transaction would unfairly benefit billionaire chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert at the expense of investors.