Sears Declares Bankruptcy
Faltering retailer still searching for Kenmore buyer.
HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL — Former retail giant Sears declared bankruptcy this week following years of dwindling sales, closed stores, layoffs and competition from Wal-Mart, Amazon and other online sellers.
The Hoffman Estates, IL-based chain has been dogged by an enormous debt burden in recent years, and a $134 million debt payment due this week pushed the company into bankruptcy.
Parent company Sears Holdings also owns Kmart, and said it plans to keep profitable Sears and Kmart locations and its websites open.
As of the bankruptcy filing, about 700 stores remain open and the company employs 68,000 workers, according to CNN, down from 1,000 stores with 89,000 employees in February. Sears plans to close 46 stores next month and more throughout the year.
Sears was a household name going back to the 19th century when it revolutionized retail with its home catalog mail-order business. Its exclusive Craftsman brand of power tools and Kenmore line of white goods, once iconic, also faced challenges. Last year, Sears sold Craftsman to Stanley Black & Decker; it has thus far failed to unload Kenmore. The only offer came from Sears CEO Edward Lampert's hedge fund, which offered $400 million in cash for the appliance line. The offer was not accepted by the board.
Last Year, Sears also parted ways with Whirlpool Corp. after a century of doing business and no longer sells the appliance maker’s brands.
Whirlpool has made a push to increase its prices in recent years, triggering Sears’ decision, according to media reports. Whirlpool continues to make Sears’ nameplate Kenmore appliances, according to media reports.
For more information, visit searsholdings.com.