With its latest batch of store closures, Sears appears to be making good on its goal to emerge from bankruptcy a vastly smaller company.
The iconic retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, said Thursday that it will shutter another 40 Sears and Kmart stores in February, on top of the 142 locations it previously announced would be closing by the end of this year.
Attorneys for Sears told the U.S. Bankruptcy Court at an initial hearing that the retailer wanted to make a decision about the financial prospects of another group of struggling stores by Nov. 15.
The retailer has also said that it is critical the bankruptcy process move swiftly. It has proposed having its Chapter 11 reorganization plan filed by late December and confirmed in March 2019.
Sears, once the nation’s largest retailer before yielding that perch to Walmart and then Amazon, has been unraveling for years, undone by rivals who offered similar products with a better experience or price.
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The company borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from its own CEO, sold off its highly-regarded Craftsman tool brand, and closed hundreds of stores to regain its financial footing. But in the wake of plunging sales and revenue, it finally sought bankruptcy protection in October.
The latest round of liquidation sales at 29 Sears and 11 Kmart locations are slated to start late next week. And Sears Auto centers that are connected to the closing stores will be going out of business as well.
The company has 687 stores and roughly 68,000 employees.