From once being the largest U.S. retailer to now facing possible bankruptcy, there is no doubt that Sears is in trouble. Days before its $134 million debt payment deadline, the Wall Street Journal reported, the company hired advisers for a potential Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
Despite closing hundreds of its stores and cutting expenses, Sears’ deterioration continues to crumble. It hasn’t reported a single year of sales growth since 2005 and has totaled $11.2 billion in cumulative net losses since 2011. But the company that was founded in 1893 wasn’t always like that.
In its more than a century of existence, Sears has made it through two world wars and the Great Depression, surviving as one of America’s greatest retailers. Opening its first store in Chicago in 1925, the company’s sales included shoe repairs, kitchen utensils, a model hunting lodge, and even farm tractors. There were an estimated 15,000 shoppers who visited the new store on opening day.
Today, most Sears stores lay vacant with only a handful of shoppers browsing barren shelves of what remains. It may officially be the end of an era.
Check out the photos above to see the transformation from Sears’ glory days to its deterioration.