Sears is closing several North Carolina stores after filing for bankruptcy

Sears is closing several North Carolina stores after filing for bankruptcy

Sears is closing several North Carolina stores after filing for bankruptcy

Sears Holding expected to file for bankruptcy protection, several wire service reports have indicated. Eventually, Sears became the largest US retailer. This is in addition to the closure of 46 unprofitable stores that had already been announced.

Before bankruptcy seemed inevitable, Lampert's hedge fund ESL had been pushing a debt-restructuring proposal that would avoid a bankruptcy filing. In 2004, the company was acquired by hedge fund manager Edward Lampert and merged with K-Mart.

In 1888, the company put out its first catalog, which quickly grew to 500 pages (It would reach 1,000 in the following century.) Sears took advantage of the post office's expansion into rural areas to bring big-town shopping to small-town America, together with companies like J.C. Penney and Montgomery Ward.

Three companies that sell items at Sears told Reuters this week that Sears had missed payments to them over the past few weeks.

Under Lampert, the company saw a $1.5 billion profit in 2015, but it's been downhill ever since.

By the time Sears limped into bankruptcy on Monday, the once-great company was shriveled and sickly. Some, like Payless ShoeSource, successfully emerged from reorganization in bankruptcy court. But plenty of others like Toys R Us and Bon-Ton Stores Inc., haven't. Both retailers were forced to shutter their operations this year soon after Chapter 11 filings. Sears stock is down 89 percent year-to-date.

Meanwhile, 68,000 Sears employees are wondering about the future of their careers today. The number of stores peaked in 2012 at 4,000, including its Sears Canada division that was later spun off.

Mr Lampert, the largest shareholder, had pledged to restore Sears to its glory days by loaning out his own money to prop up the company. Lampert gave up his title of chief executive officer as part of the filing.

Sears fell out of shoppers' favor over the past decades as online stores and big box rivals, including Walmart and Home Depot, beat Sears on price and convenience. The company has roughly $5.6 billion in outstanding debt and has dwindled down to about 820 Sears and Kmart stores, down from 2,000 five years ago.

Having so little cash available would make it very hard for Sears to pay back $134 million in debt due on Monday.

Just as Toys "R" Us' bankruptcy created a void in the toy industry, Sears' store closures represent an opportunity for big-box retail competitors to seize market share, according to a September 21 research note from MoffettNathanson analyst Greg Melich.

Yes, Sears says it is still accepting gift cards in stores and online.

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