Sears Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday, announcing that its CEO is stepping down and another 142 stores will be shuttered by the end of 2018. Massive liquidation sales will start at the stores soon, the company said.
The chain, which comprised 863 mall-based stores and an additional 1,200 retail locations in the year 2000, had 866 Sears and Kmart stores as of August 4 and expected to close 149 of them in the second half, according to a September 13 filing. It listed $6.9 billion in assets and $11.3 billion in liabilities in documents filed in the bankruptcy court, Reuters reported.
Sears has two days to come up with $134 million.
At its peak, the operator of Sears and Kmart had 4,000 stores in 2012 but will now be left with a little more than 500. "But they didn't run it quite well, and that's the outcome of not running something right", said 61-year-old retiree Paul Thompson, a Kmart customer at one of its stores in Bridgehampton, New York.
The longtime American shopping mall anchor is trying to stave off a complete shutdown of not only Sears department stores but the Kmart stores it also owns.
Sears and Kmart had 89,000 employees as of February 3 of this year, according to a company filing.
But Walmart surpassed it in 1990 to become the largest retailer in the US and Sears struggled to compete with retail giants like Walmart, Target and Amazon.
"The company believes that a successful reorganization will save the company and the jobs of tens of thousands of store associates", Sears said in a statement.
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Sears brands include Kenmore appliances.
Sears plans to stay open as it enters Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but the retailer did not rule out additional store closings. Options could range from food halls to pop-up stores to Tonya-Harding-esq skating rinks, Rosenblum said - so long as the concept was about more than just shopping.
Businessman Eddie Lampert - who serves as the company's chief executive, biggest investor, landlord and significant creditor - had attempted to restructure the firm's debt to avoid bankruptcy. The store is owned separately from the mall, but Black said Northwood is working closely with New England Development on the redevelopment plans.
Craig Johnson, president of retail consultancy Customer Growth Partnership, said: "This is a company that stood like a colossus over the American retail landscape". Edward S. Lampert, the company's largest shareholder, has stepped down as CEO but will remain chairman of the board.
Sears Holdings had 89,000 employees as of February, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission - down from nearly 350,000 a decade ago - as well as 547 Sears and 432 Kmart stores. If any of them stumble when this market share is being all but donated to them, that might suggest they'll also have a tough time stealing Kmart's home goods sales or Sears's apparel sales.
A Columbia Gramophone Grand pictured in a Sears Roebuck catalog from 1902. Sears said it plans to close 142 stores. The company now has 506 stores in operation.
There is a Sears Hometown store in Atchison, Kansas.