Sears could be dealing with the “L” word — liquidation — if a bidder doesn’t come through within the next week, people familiar with the matter told CNBC. Additionally, the retailer plans to close 80 more stores across the U.S. in March, on top of the 182 previously announced.
Sears Holdings Chairman Eddie Lampert proposed buying out the company for $4.6 billion, but the deadline for submission was Dec. 28 and no bid had been submitted as of that morning. If Lampert’s or another company’s bid meets the deadline, Sears’ advisors would have until Jan. 4, 2019 to determine whether Lampert is a “qualified bidder.” If not, liquidators will place the bids in a Jan. 14, 2019 auction.
Even if Lampert’s bid comes through, Sears will be downsizing from the approximately 700 Sears and Kmart stores that remained open when the retailer filed for bankruptcy in October 2018. The retailer had planned to shutter 142 unprofitable stores by the end of 2018, with an additional 40 closures slated for 2019. With the additional 80 closures planned for March, a total of 262 stores are likely to be shuttered by the end of Q1 2019.