Sears files for bankruptcy

Sears, once the largest retailer in the world, is closing hundreds of stores and reportedly planning to file for bankruptcy. Here's how it got there.

Sears files for bankruptcy

Parts of Sears have already been through bankruptcy.

The company filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, N.Y., and said Eddie Lampert is stepping down immediately as chief executive officer. The company gets about 10 percent of its revenue through sales of its products at Sears.

"I don't understand the point of Sears, I just buy everything online", said 23-year-old Lyft driver Shannon Dickey as we pull up to the abandoned storefront of Sears that sits at the top of Ross Park Mall, nine miles north of downtown Pittsburgh "I think their old catalogs are cool, but I just don't understand the point of Sears".

If Sears does file for Chapter 11, the company could try to stay in business, using the court process to shed debt and unaffordable leases.

At the same time, Lampert's ESL Investments negotiating a financing deal while also discussing buying "a large portion of the company's store base", Sears said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Sears workers are nervous about what kind of severance they'll receive if their stores close.

These photos show how Sears went from being the largest and most prominent retailer in the United States to the struggling company that it is today.

Whirlpool, which had started in business more than a century ago selling its appliances at Sears, pulled its various brands out of Sears and Kmart stores previous year. Such a plan could potentially keep a slimmer Sears alive as a going concern, the sources said.

"If they dont value a customer, then they dont need my money", said Roberts, who voiced her complaints on Sears Facebook page.

Chicago's Sears Tower was the world's tallest building when it was completed in 1973, but in the following decades consumers increasingly turned to e-commerce and brick-and-mortar rivals such as Walmart Inc and Target Corp. The catalog business heavily damaged the existing door-to-door retail market by offering a much wider variety of goods that could be purchased and delivered directly to customers' front doors, and at a lower cost. In its heyday, it was both the Walmart and Amazon of its time. Sears' stock has fallen more than 50% in the last five days to around 35 cents a share. Sears sold many of its most valuable assets, including its massive real estate footprint, to raise the cash it needed to survive.

"The problem in Sears' case is that it is a poor retailer", Saunders wrote in his analyst note.

Such financial woes contrast with the promise that Mr Lampert made when he combined Sears and Kmart in 2005, two years after he helped bring Kmart out of bankruptcy. Sears recently added a restructuring expert as a company director for an additional layer of guidance on how to navigate a bankruptcy filing. Those store closings are in addition to 46 others that were expected by next month.

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