Close
Date TimeOctober 15, 2018
VoiceSears, the once-dominant retail chain that changed how Americans shopped and lived, has filed for bankruptcy.
The 132-year-old company has been struggling for several years and is drowning in debt. The final straw was a $134 million debt payment due Monday that it could not afford.

Sears Holdings (SHLD), the parent company of Sears and Kmart, is among dozens of prominent retailers to declare bankruptcy in the era of Amazon (AMZN).
The filing in federal bankruptcy court in New York came in the early hours of Monday morning. The company issued a statement saying it intends to stay in business, keeping open stores that are profitable, along with the Sears and Kmart websites.
As of the filing, about 700 stores remained open and the company employed 68,000 workers. That's down from 1,000 stores with 89,000 employees that it had as recently as February.
But Sears said that it's looking for a buyer for a large number of its remaining stores, and it will close at least 142 stores near the end of this year. That's in addition to the 46 store closings already planned for next month. The company did not rule out additional store closings as the bankruptcy process proceeds.
Eddie Lampert, the company's chairman and largest shareholder, gave up the title of CEO. The company will now be run by three of the company's top executives.
For years, Lampert has claimed the company was making progress to end its years of ongoing losses.
"While we have made progress, the plan has yet to deliver the results we have desired," Lampert said in a statement Monday. He said the bankruptcy process would allow the company to shed debt and costs and "become a profitable and more competitive retailer."
Although retailers typically file for bankruptcy with the intention of staying in business, many end up going bust after filing. In recent years, Toys "R" Us, RadioShack and Sports Authority have followed that path to the graveyard.
The upcoming holiday season will be a particular challenge for Sears. It will need to do better than last year. While other traditional retailers enjoyed strong holiday sales, Sears and Kmart both reported sharp drops.

Sears' problems go back decades
Sears fell out of shoppers' favor over the past decades as online stores and big box rivals, including Walmart (WMT) and Home Depot (HD), beat Sears on price and convenience.
But many of Sears' problems were self-inflicted. Its management tried to compete by closing stores and cutting costs. It slashed spending on advertising and it failed to invest in the upkeep and modernization of its outlets. Sears and Kmart stores grew barren and rundown.
Sales declined. Losses piled up in the billions of dollars. Debt mounted, and the company's cash reserves disappeared. Sears sold many of its most valuable assets, including its massive real estate footprint, to raise the cash it needed to survive. According to the bankruptcy filing, the company was losing about $125,000 a month.
It ditched Lands End in 2014. Three years later, Sears dumped the Craftsman brand, which it had sold exclusively. The company has been looking for a buyer for its Kenmore brand of appliances for years. The only acquirer it could find was Lampert, who offered $400 million for Kenmore through his hedge fund. The Sears board never accepted the offer.
By last month, Sears' market value had fallen below $100 million, less than quarter of the value of Kenmore itself.
The retailer's problems have mounted in recent years. Sears warned investors last year there was "substantial doubt" it would be able to stay in business. It has lost $11.7 billion since 2010, its last profitable year. Sales have plunged 60% since then. The company shuttered more than 2,800 stores over the past 13 years.
With the writing on the wall that a bankruptcy was imminent, suppliers demanded Sears pay cash up front for the items in its stores, putting it at an even greater competitive disadvantage with other retailers.
Whirlpool, (WHR) 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 last year. Once the dominant appliance retailer in the country, Sears accounted for only 3% of Whirlpool's sales worldwide in 2017.
In September, Lampert proposed that Sears restructure its finances without filing bankruptcy. But he warned that the company was running out of cash. The company's stock quickly fell below $1 a share for the first time in its history.
Creditors opted instead to try their hand in bankruptcy court. Without a deal and with $134 million in debt payments due Monday, Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The brand that shaped a nation
Sears was once the nation's largest retailer and its largest employer. In its heyday, it was both the Walmart and Amazon of its time.
Formed in 1886 by railroad station agent Richard Sears, the company started as a watch business in North Redwood, Minnesota. Sears moved to Chicago in 1887, and he hired watchmaker Alvah Roebuck as his partner. The first Sears Roebuck catalog, which sold watches and jewelry, was printed in 1896.
The Sears catalog was the way many Americans first started to buy mass-produced goods. That was an enormous shift for people who lived on farms and in small towns and made many of the goods they needed on their own, including clothes and furniture.
Sears' stores helped reshape America, drawing shoppers away from the traditional Main Street merchants. Sears brought people into malls, contributing to the suburbanization of America in the post-World War II era. Its Kenmore appliances introduced many American homes to labor-saving devices that changed family dynamics. Its Craftsman tools and their lifetime guarantees were a mainstay of middle-class America.
Sears truly changed America.
But long before the rise of Amazon and online shopping, Sears was struggling to keep up with Americans' changing shopping habits. Big box retailers such as Walmart beat it on both price and merchandise selection.
In 1999, it was booted out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, where it had been for 75 years. Big box rival Home Depot took its place.
Sears and Kmart merged to form Sears Holdings in 2005. At the time, they had 3,500 US stores between them. They have fewer than 900 today.
In July, Sears closed its last store in Chicago, once its hometown. In August, the company announced another 46 store closings. The company had 89,000 employees as of February. That's down from 317,000 US employees in early 2006, soon after the merger.

Trump to Send Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia to Discuss Missing Journalist
11 noteworthy moments from Trump's '60 Minutes' interview
Elizabeth Warren releases DNA test suggesting Native American ancestor
Meghan and Harry announce pregnancy with baby due early next year
Prince Harry and Meghan arrive in Sydney for 16-day tour
Ariana Grande, Pete Davidson split
Patriots edge Chiefs in thriller as Brady outduels Mahomes ... for now
Ariana Grande Pulls Out of Cancer Benefit Amid Personal Turmoil
Weekend Box Office: 'First Man' Trails 'A Star Is Born,' 'Venom' With Sluggish $16.5M Launch
Elon Musk says it's time to create a 'mecha' or giant fighting anime robot
27 injured as hurricane Leslie hits Portugal; uproots power lines, trees
Stephen Hawking's last paper on black holes is now online
See All 4 Dazzling New Portraits from Princess Eugenie's Royal Wedding in Exquisite Detail
'Strictly Come Dancing': Stacey Dooley Dominates Leaderboard With Foxtrot Routine
David Davis calls on ministers to rebel against Brexit deal
Novak Djokovic wins Shanghai Masters to continue hunt for Nadal’s No 1 crown
'SNL' Mocks President Trump and Kanye West
Liam Payne Turns On Rita Ora, Radio DJs With 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Reading
Nile Rodgers: 'I kicked drink and drugs after bad gig'
Katie Piper acid attacker Stefan Sylvestre released from prison after nine years
Strictly dance couple face the music in first show after that kiss
Crawford outclasses Benavidez Jr. to keep title
Melania Trump: Donald Trump and I are fine
Pastor Andrew Brunson released to US diplomatic personnel after being detained by Turkish authorities for two years
Hear Usher’s Surprise New Album ‘A’
Usain Bolt scores first two goals in bid to become a professional footballer
Watch Boston Dynamics' humanoid robot leap up massive steps like it's nothing
Director hopes First Man makes moon trip fresh
Windsor welcomes Princess Eugenie for royal wedding redux
Defending champion Philadelphia Eagles make New York Giants look like chumps
BTS’s Jimin To Not Appear On 'The Graham Norton Show' Due To Health Concern
Kanye West defends support for Trump, in front of Trump
Astronauts survive Soyuz rocket emergency landing
Michelle Obama: 'When they go low, we go high' slogan 'absolutely' still stands
Harvey Weinstein: prosecutors in New York drop part of sexual assault case
Doug Ellis, former Aston Villa chairman, dies aged 94
Lady Gaga's Emotional Journey from Bullied Teen to Pop Star to Hollywood's Newest Leading Lady
Who Is Jessie J? 6 Things to Know About the British Singer Dating Channing Tatum
Selena Gomez Seeking Treatment After Emotional Breakdown in Hospital Following 'Tough' Few Weeks
Def Leppard and Stevie Nicks among new nominees for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
NBA news: Kyrie Irving aims sly dig at LeBron James over Celtics trade
Taylor Swift Rules at the American Music Awards 2018: Look What You Made Her Do
Amazon built an AI tool to hire people but had to shut it down because it was discriminating against women
Katie Price Arrested On Suspicion Of Drink Driving After 'Crashing Pink Range Rover Into Bush'
Majorca floods leave at least eight people dead
Michael intensifies, makes landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida: NHC
Ruby Rose Looks Awesome as Batwoman in First Look at the 2018 Arrowverse Crossover
Taylor Swift kicks off the American Music Awards
Counter-extremism chief attacks Tommy Robinson soldier photo
Hurricane Michael is STRONGEST storm in 150 years to hit Florida Panhandle 'WONT survive'
Meghan Markle's Half-Sister Samantha Explains Her Uninvited Visit to Kensington Palace
Peyton Manning congratulates Drew Brees for passing yards record in hilarious video
Ivanka Trump looks solemn as she listens in on Donald meeting after UN ambassador resigns
Nikki Haley and Donald Trump praise each other after her resignation – video
Google Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL start at $799, rock two selfie cameras and bigger screens
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is offline after a steering component failed
Angelina Jolie 'Emotional' After Seeing Brad Pitt Embrace Hot Young Co-Star On Film Set: 'It Stings'
Tesla has its work cut out to find chairman to replace Elon Musk
Seann Walsh’s girlfriend Rebecca Humphries speaks out after comedian kisses Strictly partner Katya while she was ‘alone’ on her birthday
Wild night in Bronx: Red Sox take command of ALDS against Yankees
'I don't want to be here, anyway': Warriors Coach Steve Kerr ejected from preseason game
Ariana Grande Shades Kanye West & Supports Pete Davidson, Despite Kim K Friendship
'A Star Is Born': Shooting Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga Singing and Falling in Love
Who was in on Banksy's 'self-destruct' art stunt?
Former Trump aide Hope Hicks joins Fox as head of PR
Phoenix Suns fire general manager Ryan McDonough with a little more than a week before the season begins
No Columbus Day in Columbus, city to honour veterans instead
Strictly Come Dancing's Katya Jones And Seann Walsh Filmed Kissing In Street
New 'Doctor Who' Review: Jodie Whittaker Has Opened Up The Tardis To All
State of Emergency Issued as Florida Braces for Expected Hurricane Michael
Taylor Swift breaks political silence to endorse Democrats in US midterms
That wasn't a UFO. SpaceX launch lights up Southern California sky
Live coverage: SpaceX prepares for launch and landing in California
Meghan Markle's sister 'turned away' by palace security
Kanye West Deletes Twitter and Instagram Accounts After Trump Rant and Album Delay
Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. questions Eli Manning, Giants' offense
Mahrez penalty miss leaves Liverpool and Manchester City at impasse
Sebastian Vettel: Ferrari ace SLAMS Max Verstappen for Japanese Grand Prix collision
Banksy artwork self-destructs after selling at auction for £1m – video
Scott Wilson, 'Walking Dead' actor, dies at 76
Khabib Nurmagomedov taps out Conor McGregor then sparks melee in crowd
Weekend Box Office: 'Venom' Heads for Massive $80M; 'A Star Is Born' Singing to $40M-Plus
Senate Confirms Brett Kavanaugh To Supreme Court, Rejects Me Too Movement
Sánchez seals dramatic Manchester United comeback against Newcastle
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck are officially divorced
Voyager 2 May Be Leaving the Solar System Soon, NASA Says
Montserrat Caballe, the opera singer who sang Barcelona with Freddie Mercury, dies aged 85
WWE Super Show-Down LIVE RESULTS: John Cena returns, Undertaker and Triple H make history
SpaceX to Attempt 1st West Coast Falcon 9 Rocket Landing on Sunday
'Bachelor' Contestant Cristy Caserta Dead at 38 After Apparent Seizure
Trump Says George Soros Backs 'Paid Professional' Kavanaugh Protesters
Brett Kavanaugh: Susan Collins poised to announce decision as hundreds protest
Lady Gaga Blasts Donald Trump for Mocking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski among 300 arrested in Kavanaugh protests
Unilever scraps plan to move HQ from London to Rotterdam
Nobel Peace Prize joint winner Nadia Murad's powerful 2016 speech to the UN – video
Lady Gaga Surprises Fans at A Star Is Born Screening and Tearfully Thanks Them for Their Support
Chris Evans Officially Wraps Playing Captain America
Brett Kavanaugh: key Republicans express satisfaction with FBI report
Nicole Kidman And Katie Holmes Reportedly Still Distancing Themselves From Tom Cruise After Divorces
Kim Kardashian's Insurance Company Files $6 Million Lawsuit Against Bodyguard in Paris Robbery
Barack Obama wrote a heartwarming message to his wife Michelle on their 26th anniversary
Watch: Melania Trump Is 'Very Honored' to Visit Obama Hall and Former Slave Trading Fort Without President in Ghana
Yankees' Aaron Judge makes powerful opening statement in playoffs
Ben Sasse Chokes Up While Discussing Sexual Assault
Nissan becomes latest manufacturer to warn against hard Brexit
Scientists who sparked 'a revolution in evolution' have won the Nobel Prize in chemistry
Meghan Markle Is Given a Feminist Drawing of Her Dog, Guy: 'How Lovely!'
Venom Is Funnier Than You're Expecting
Theresa May Calls for Unity Over Brexit, With Jokes and a Dance Routine
Steve Bruce sacked as Aston Villa manager after one win in 10 matches
‘Presidential Alert’ Will Go to Millions of Cellphones Across the U.S
Bradley Cooper on Casting His Own Dog in A Star Is Born: Now 'He Doesn't Return My Calls'
Elon Musk's Ultimatum to Tesla: Fight the SEC, or I Quit
Post Malone Previews New 'Spiderman' Song 'Sunflower' on 'Fallon'
Zoe Ball becomes first female host of BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show
Instagram Is Down So People Are Freaking Out On Twitter, Because That's Life Now
Taylor Swift Meets 8-Year-Old Boy With Autism Who She Helped Get a Service Dog
'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Trailer: Meet Miles Morales, More Spider-People
Amazon boosts minimum wage to $15 for all workers following criticism
Melania Trump Arrives in Ghana Wearing Celine
Suspected ricin poison packages found at Pentagon
Trump directed legal action to block Stormy Daniels from speaking about alleged affair: Report
Physics Nobel prize won by Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland
Sajid Javid to toughen language requirement for immigrants
Is this Boris Johnson’s last hurrah? | Gaby Hinsliff
Emma Stone Opens Up About Her Lifelong Struggle With Anxiety and Panic Attacks
NASA study shows travelling to Mars could ruin your gut and cause cancer
Meghan Markle's Half-Sister Samantha Markle Apologizes on TV Amid Family Feud
MLB Playoffs TV Schedule 2018: What time, TV, channel is Oakland A's vs. New York Yankees? Date, time, TV for AL Wild Card Game
Passengers stranded as discount airline Primera Air collapses
Patrick Mahomes leads game-winning drive as Kansas City Chiefs survive vs. Denver Broncos
Chris Evans slams Kanye West for slavery remarks
Cardi B arrested, charged with endangerment and assault in New York strip club fight
Trump presents Medal of Honor to Army medic Staff Sgt. Ronald Shurer
Cardi B Turns Herself In to Police
Hailie Deegan, 17, becomes first female winner in NASCAR K&N
Rainbow host Geoffrey Hayes dies aged 76
Nobel prize in medicine jointly awarded to two cancer researchers
Charles Aznavour, the 'Frank Sinatra of France', dies aged 94
Kim Kardashian Says Having Three Kids Left Her 'Fully Neglecting' Kanye West
Earl Thomas gives middle finger toward Seahawks sideline after leg injury
Steelers offense sputters in second half against Ravens
Philip Hammond on Boris Johnson chances of being PM: 'I don't expect it will happen'
Britain could be left with 'no choice' but to pursue no-deal Brexit, Dominic Raab warns
NAFTA: Canada and US reach deal on 'new, modernised trade agreement'
‘She was paid by the Democrats’: Trump fans on Ford and Kavanaugh
Ryder Cup 2018: Europe rout USA to exceed Thomas Bjørn’s wildest dreams
Box Office: Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart's 'Night School' Squashes 'Smallfoot' With $28 Million
Jeremy Hunt 'Misjudged' Brexiteer Tories With 'Toe Curling' EU/USSR Comparison
All the Times Pete Davidson Talked About Ariana Grande Engagement on SNL Premiere
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway: 'I'm a victim of sexual assault'
Mousasi denies BC fighter Rory MacDonald's bid for second Bellator championship
Hamilton wins Russian GP after teammate lets him through
Neil deGrass Tyson and Stephen Colbert Cruise NYC in a Mars Rover
Meghan Markle Loves 'The Royal Lifestyle' & Dressing Sexy For Prince Harry
Indonesia earthquake: cries for help from rubble amid fears thousands dead
Brexit costing Britain £500m a week and rising, says report
Tesla, Elon Musk settle gov't suit for $40 mn; Musk to stay CEO
Penn State stunned by Ohio State's late surge in Big Ten rivalry loss at Beaver Stadium
Matt Damon joins 'SNL' to mock Kavanaugh
Hear Ye: Kanye West announces name change ahead of SNL
Serena Williams Sings 'I Touch Myself' Topless in Music Video Promoting Breast Cancer Awareness
Lindsay Lohan Punched In The Face After Trying To Take Refugee Children From Parents
Clemson's Trevor Lawrence knocked out of game after taking big hit against Syracuse
Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge hits back after Eden Hazard’s Chelsea strike
Ariana Grande Reveals She Wants to Go on Tour But Being 'Away From Home' Is 'Scary' Right Now
Taylor Swift Stuns In Sheer Gown As She Sneaks Into Joe Alwyn's Movie Premiere For Rare Date Night
Tesla shares plunge as Wall Street throws in towel, saying Musk departure could cost stock $130
Facebook Data Breach -- What To Do Next
Rod Stewart Claims BBC Would Not Allow Him To Perform 'The Killing Of Georgie' On Chris Evans' Breakfast Show
Arnautovic seals victory as West Ham compound Manchester United gloom
Wow! Asteroid Ryugu's Rubbly Surface Pops in Best-Ever Photo
Jefferson Airplane Co-Founder Marty Balin Dead at 76
LSU basketball player Wayde Sims shot to death
Tim Allen & Nancy Travis Talk What's Changed, What's the Same in Fox's 'Last Man Standing'
At least 48 killed after series of quakes and a tsunami hit Indonesia
Sir John Major Brands Leave Campaign A 'Fantasy Case' In Call For Second Brexit Vote
Graham Norton slates the 'stupid, short-sighted' celebs who avoid tax
'Wizards of Waverly Place' Star David Henrie Charged in Airport Gun Case
Callum Smith knocks out George Groves to land super-middleweight crown
Hillary Clinton Makes a Surprising (and Hilarious) Cameo in Premiere of Murphy Brown Revival
Ariana Grande Dropped Out of 'SNL' Premiere for 'Emotional Reasons'
Social media star, a former 'Miss Baghdad,' shot dead
The Senate Republicans’ Less-Than-Human Treatment of Christine Blasey Ford
America is Going Back to the Moon—Thanks to Donald Trump
Lady Gaga Tips the Scales in Bradley Cooper's 'A Star Is Born'
Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook page will be deleted on Sunday, says hacker
Jeff Flake: the man who may hold Kavanaugh's future in his hands
McIlroy struggles on opening morning as United States draw first blood
Naomi Campbell Says A Lot By Saying Very Little About Kendall Jenner
SEC Sues Elon Musk for Fraud, Seeks Removal From Tesla
American Bar Association calls for FBI investigation into Kavanaugh allegations
Jared Goff scorches Vikings with five touchdowns as Rams win passing duel
Hear Lil Wayne's Long-Awaited 'Tha Carter V'
Watch Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper Perform Striking 'A Star is Born' Duet 'Shallow'
Partisan tensions: Republican chair interrupts Feinstein
Postman Pat creator John Cunliffe dies
Rachel Mitchell: who is the prosecutor grilling Christine Blasey Ford?
Brett Kavanaugh Accuser Christine Blasey Ford Testifies At Historic Senate Hearing
Close