Sears' Closing of 235 Stores Is a Long Way From Its Glory Days Dec 5, 2014, 3:40 PM ET By SUSANNA KIM Business Digital Reporter Customers shop for home goods in the Sears Roebuck store in Syracuse, New York in October, 1941. FSA Sears was once a sparkling star of the retail world going back to the days before there was such a thing as a chain store, but this week the company reported another quarterly loss and the shuttering of 235 under-performing stores this year. In its third quarter results announced on Thursday, Sear Holdings, the parent of the namesake department store and Kmart, announced a loss of $296 million compared to $310 million in the same period a year ago. Sears Holdings was formed in 2005 when Sears and Kmart merged. The number of stores it will close increased from the 130 stores it announced about three months ago. "We remain intently focused on delivering an unparalleled integrated retail experience for our customers through Shop Your Way and above all, returning Sears Holdings to profitability," CEO of Sears Holdings since January 2013 Eddie Lampert said in a statement on Thursday. Business wasn't always tough for Sears. The first Sears store gained fame with rural folks and farmers through its mail-order business. Those early Sears catalogs featured jewelery and watches, but the company quickly added a vast array of items, including a "Stradivarius model violin" for $6.10, according to Sears Archives. At times, the catalog was free and other times it cost 50 cents. Fotosearch/Getty Images PHOTO: An advertisement for ladies corsets and underskirts by Sears, Roebuck & Co., circa 1897. Richard Sears started the R.W. Sears Watch Company in Minneapolis in 1886, back when there weren't even 40 states in the union, according to Sears Archives. Sales in 1893 were more than $400,000. Two years later, when the Sears catalog was 532-pages long, sales were more than $750,000, according to the archives. It wasn't until 1931 that Sears store sales topped mail-order sales for the first time. Stores accounted for 53.4 percent of total sales of more than $180 million, according to the archives. Fotosearch/Getty Images PHOTO: The storefront of a Sears, Roebuck and Co. store is seen in El Paso, Texas, circa 1940. When World War II began in 1941, Sears had more than 600 stores. Jack Manning/Three Lions/Getty Images PHOTO: A customer receives a cosmetic consultation in Sears Roebuck department store in Caracas, Venezuela, circa 1955. Sears' first retail store outside the U.S. was in Havana, Cuba, in 1942. Five years later, a store opened in Mexico City, followed by additional stores in Europe and Central and South America. Eventually in 1953, the company made a foray into Canada. Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star/Getty Images PHOTO: The doors of the Sears at the Eaton Center mall are seen closed for the last time on Feb. 23, 2014 in Toronto. Sears was the nation’s largest retailer by revenue until the late 1980s, when Walmart surpassed it. Around that time, the annual Sears “wish book” was a must-read for children in the months before Christmas. Today, Sears’ revenue lags behind those of a handful of other stores, such as Target, Costco and Best Buy. Like many department stores, the company these days has been hit by flailing in-store electronics sales, in part due to steep competition from the Internet. Sears Holdings, which has more than 1,830 Sears and Kmart stores, said in its earnings announcement that the company "expects to migrate the shopping activity of highly engaged members who previously shopped closed stores to alternative channels."