Sears files for bankruptcy as the retail apocalypse continues apace

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Chairman Edward Lampert is stepping down immediately from his role as CEO, it was announced Monday, and the company said it plans to close 142 unprofitable stores near the end of the year, in addition to the 46 stores it had already identified.

The company has announced so many different store closures and liquidation sales in 2018 that it's been hard to keep an official Sears store closing list.

Sears was making progress in its negotiations with banks on Friday for financing to keep it afloat through the holiday season while in bankruptcy court, with lenders expected to provide several hundred million dollars, the sources said. Sears then tweaked those plans and said it would shut down "only" 63 locations, including 48 Sears store closures and 15 Kmart store closures. The company, known for refrigerators, washing machines, and other appliances, says that about 1 percent of its accounts receivable exposure is related to Sears.

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy court filing lists the nearest closing stores in Lakeland and Bradenton.

The number of stores peaked in 2012 at 4,000, including its Sears Canada division that was later spun off.

Companies that file for bankruptcy typically negotiate a special kind of loan to stay in business while they go through the bankruptcy process. Once the dominant appliance retailer in the country, Sears accounted for only 3% of Whirlpool's sales worldwide in 2017. Are There Good Deals?

If Sears ends up collapsing, the obituaries will blame Internet competition for undermining the big-box department store model.

Sears also plans to close three K-Mart locations in the state as well, including a store on Western Boulevard in Raleigh.

Shoppers should be warned, however, that these stores aren't overflowing with awesome deals. The metro-east's nearest Kmart, in the Flower Valley Shopping Center in Florissant, Missouri, will close. But plenty of others like Toys R Us and Bon-Ton Stores Inc., haven't. There are now five Sears stores in the state; however, three are set to close. In 1927, it bought the Craftsman trademark and started selling power tools under the brand.

While local customers are disappointed their Kmart is closing, a majority of those leaving the store on Monday were more upset about the pharmacy within the store closing.

A reorganization will keep rental income flowing but some locations are so valuable that outside investors could gain control of a site in an auction and not the REITs who are now Sears' landlords, Rothman said.

The one major upside at Sears liquidation sales is that absolutely everything in stores is marked down. Shoppers have seven days to return a defective item to the closing store.

In recent weeks, Lampert has been pushing for a debt restructuring and offering to buy some of Sears' key assets, like Kenmore, through his hedge fund as a $134 million debt repayment came due on Monday.

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