Will Sears Exist in 2019? Or Saturday? Liquidators Are Circling as Buyout Deadline Nears
The clock is ticking on Sears’ survival. The 125-year-old retailer will be gutted by liquidators unless a proposal to buy it out of bankruptcy is offered by tomorrow, Dec. 28. The company, which filed for bankruptcy in October, employs more than 68,000 people.
The only known possible savior today is the company’s chairman, Eddie Lampert, who has been trying to get a $4.6 billion offer together for the company. Through his ESL Investments hedge fund, Lampert submitted a bid to the bankruptcy court earlier this month. But the deal is looking doubtful, according to CNBC.
If Lampert secures a bid by tomorrow, the deal would save all of Sears’ assets, including 500 stores and allow 50,000 of the company’s employees to keep their job. But, even then, some creditors made it clear that they would prefer to liquidate the company.
Sears locations that were already moving to a shutdown could leave big retail holes in their communities. The 142 locations set to shut down will, most likely, be demolished by the buildings’ owners. With most Sears locations coming in at 10,000 square feet or more, it will be hard to find replacement tenants to fill those spaces in malls or standalone stores.
Sears did not immediately respond to Fortune‘s request for comment.
With the department store possibly in its final throes, other retailers have been working to take over some of its categories. In November, Bloomingdale’s announced it was moving into high-end appliances by adding LG refrigerators, dishwashers, and more to its online store and, as a test during the holiday season, the New York City flagship.