Sears CEO steps in for bankruptcy financing

Sears’ bankruptcy appears imminent

US retailer Sears files for bankruptcy

The closings are in addition to 46 locations the once-mighty retailer already planned to shutter, though it did not specify how numerous new closures would be Sears or Kmart stores, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Sears and Kmart had 89,000 employees as of February 3 of this year, according to a company filing. The company will remain in business during the proceedings.

While we have made progress, the plan has yet to deliver the results we have desired, and addressing the company's immediate liquidity needs has impacted our efforts to become a profitable and more competitive retailer.

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Lampert, a billionaire who also runs hedge fund ESL Investments, has invested in and lent to Sears many times over the years, giving him and ESL ownership of about half the company, as well as $2.5 billion of Sears' debt.

The company, which started out as a mail order catalog in the 1880s, has been on a slow march toward extinction as it lagged far behind its peers and has incurred massive losses over the years. But it wasn't able to keep up with shifting consumer habits as online rivals siphoned off shoppers, and turnaround efforts were hobbled by mountains of debt.

At its peak, Sears sold everything from toys to auto parts to mail-order homes, and was a key tenant in nearly every big mall across the United States. GlobalData Retail managing director Neil Saunders didn't mince words when he told Business Insider on Monday, "The problem in Sears' case is that it is a poor retailer". The holding company has closed almost 3,000 Sears and K-Mart locations over the past decade and are now down to fewer than 1,000 retail locations. He's shuttered hundreds of money-losing stores, cut more than US$1 billion in annual expenses, and spun off units such as Lands' End.

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As part of the transition, Sears will also undergo a series of leadership and board changes.

Sears employed about 89,000 workers in the U.S. as of February, compared with 246,000 people five years ago. Lampert partially spun off the company from its parent in 2012 and was Sears Canada's biggest shareholder. He soon partnered with watch repairman Alvah Roebuck.

The Sears catalogUE eventually sold products ranging from hardware and automobiles to kits for building an entire house.

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Sears was down as much as 25% ahead of the opening bell. The headquarters later moved to Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Sears faced even more competition from online sellers and appliance retailers like Lowe's and Home Depot.

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