Sears files for bankruptcy after years of turmoil

Sears CEO Eddie Lampert and a Sears store

According to a report, Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday.

Sears had a $134 million debt payment due Monday that it couldn't afford, prompting the bankruptcy filing.

In an earlier attempt to avoid bankruptcy, Sears a year ago sold its Craftsman tool brand to power tool maker Stanley Black & Decker for $900 million. The company has said it's the nation's largest provider of home services, with more than 11 million service calls a year. Negotiations over the fate of the fallen company have been continuing this week, as it faces a critical $134 million of debt that is maturing on October 15.

Four Sears stores in IL are on the closure list, but none are in the metro-east. But Sears lost its footing in the 1980s with expansions into financial products such as banking, mortgages, insurance and credit cards, and Walmart Inc supplanted Sears as the biggest retailer in the early 1990s.

Sears and Kmart stores will remain open with help from $600 million in new loans, but the company will shut 142 unprofitable outlets near the end of the year, on top of 46 unprofitable stores already slated for closure by November.

Lampert and his hedge fund ESL Investments Inc own just shy of 50 percent of Sears' shares and are its biggest creditor, with about $2.5 billion owed to him and ESL. Edward S. Lampert has stepped down as CEO but will remain chairman of the board.

In March, Toys R Us announced it was shuttering all of its United States stores while other big names such as Macy's and JC Penney have also been forced to close numerous locations and lay off workers.

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"In our view, too much rot has set in at Sears to make it viable business", he said. Sears (SHLD) plans to close about 142 money-losing stores by year-end.

So if there's something you've been wanting to buy at Sears or Kmart - Craftsman tools, Kenmore appliances, Levi's jeans, Timberland boots, and so on - now's the time to check out the liquidation sale if there's a store closing in your area.

Sears Holdings had 89,000 employees as of February, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission - down from nearly 350,000 a decade ago - as well as 547 Sears and 432 Kmart stores.

The stock price was 41 cents a share in pre-market trading Monday morning - up from Friday's closing price of 34 cents. This will absolutely be a hard task, given Sears hasn't turned a profit since 2011.

Seritage Growth Properties, part of a real estate investment trust spun off by Sears in 2015 with the leases on 230 properties operated by Sears or its Kmart division, is also 44 percent-owned by Lampert entities. He's also one of the company's largest investors so he'll be a debtor and creditor during the bankruptcy proceedings.

The Hoffman Estates, Ill. -based retailer, which listed more than $10 billion in debts and more than $1 billion in assets in its filing, said it is seeking to reorganize around a smaller base of profitable stores. That could boost same-store sales at many chains.

The company has struggled with outdated stores and complaints about customer service even for its once crown jewels: major appliances like washers and dryers. That was an enormous shift for people who lived on farms and in small towns and made numerous goods they needed on their own, including clothes and furniture.

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