Last Sears department store in Louisville closing after company files for bankruptcy

By the late 1960s, Sears was the largest retailer in the world.

A bankruptcy judge on Monday approved $300 million in financing to keep department store chain Sears Holdings Corp open through the holiday season, giving the century-old retailer that once dominated USA shopping malls a chance to remain in business.

The documents were filed Monday by parent company Sears Holdings Corporation as part of its petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief.

Edward Lampert stepped down as Sears CEO as part of the bankruptcy plan, but hes still the companys chairman as well as chairman of Seritage.

The company's Sears and Kmart stores, and its online and mobile platforms, are open and continue to offer a full range of products and services to members and customers.

"Sears, Roebuck, when I was growing up, was the big deal".

Lampert and Mnunchin were roommates at Yale and Mnunchin joined Sears' board of directors in 2005.

Net sales to Sears represent less than 2 percent of the company's global sales.

The company started with Richard Sears in 1886 to sell watches by mail.

Hedge fund ESL says it stands by Sears' decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, though it would have preferred to avoid a court-run process.

But rents have risen in the best locations and a bankruptcy like Sears poses an opportunity for landlords to refresh their properties with new or better tenants, provided they win control of the sites during Chapter 11, which can be complicated. Three top executives are now in charge. This is in addition to the closure of 46 unprofitable stores that had already been announced.

Analysts question if Sears can make it out of bankruptcy at all. "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".

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. Strong sales in the upcoming holiday season will be key in determining that.

Some stores have pulled out of bankruptcy court and found some stability, but the future of other longstanding retail institutions like Toys R Us are more doubtful.

Major Sears suppliers, such as Whirlpool Corp and Electrolux AB, sought to allay fears about their exposure to the bankrupt retailer.

"The economic impact is actually a positive, even though it feels hard to believe that it would be, but it is", Rothman said.

Meanwhile, Sears and Kmart stores are open for business.

In recent years, Sears struggled to compete with retailers such as Amazon and Walmart, along with increasing debts.

"It's a sad thing that they are going bankrupt".

Among stores closing are five Kmarts in NY, including the Kmart at 987 Route 6 in Mahopac.

One of those assets is the CambridgeSide store itself.

In 1973, the company finished its new headquarters, the Sears Tower in Chicago (now called the Willis Tower).

The 125-year-old company, which has not turned a profit since 2010, had a $134 million debt payment due Monday that it previously reported it can not cover.


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