Sears Holdings Corp’s future is in doubt as the retailer is expected to request a judge for permission to liquidate its assets after a $4.4 billion takeover offer, spearheaded by its chairman Edward Lampert, fell through, according to Reuters.
Plagued by falling sales and heavy debt, Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in October and announced plans to close 142 of its roughly 700 remaining stores and eliminate thousands of jobs. The 126-year-old company, whose closure would be among the most high-profile retail bankruptcies in recent years, struggled to convince suppliers to keep shipping it merchandise by touting the $300 million in financing it has secured in November so that its business could operate through the holidays.
Lampert had put forward a $4.4 billion bid to save Sears and 50,000 jobs by buying it out of bankruptcy through his hedge fund ESL Investments. His offer, though, was deemed insufficient by Sears’ advisors, the people said
A liquidation could still salvage pieces of storied retailer, like its home services business. Still, it marks the end of an era for the company that started more than a century ago as Sears, Roebuck & Co., and was once nation’s largest retailer. Its fall from grace saw it swing from being the “first everything store” to a business that couldn’t compete when “everything” was found online after Amazon arrived.
Sears has been struggling for several years with bare shelves and displays. A visit to a store at Newport Centre Mall in Jersey City, New Jersey, a few days before the bankruptcy filing showed large areas on the selling floor that had no merchandising racks and bare wall displays.
In various documents, Sears itself acknowledged the problem, previously noting more than 200 suppliers have stopped or refused to ship merchandise to the company in the two weeks heading into bankruptcy, further crippling its business.
Sears has failed to post positive same-store sales results since 2010, according to Retail Metrics data.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.