What You Need to Know About Sears Bankruptcy Filing

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The Jasper Kmart is set to close after an announcement today that Sears Holdings has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, buckling under its massive debt load and staggering losses.

Sears Holding Corp. said it is closing unprofitable stores to lower the company's costs and increase cash flow.

Sears is just one of many retail stores unable to stay afloat. He's shuttered hundreds of money-losing stores, cut more than US$1 billion in annual expenses, and spun off units such as Lands' End.

According to a USA Today story that sites court documents of the bankruptcy, Moline's Kmart is among three stores in IL that will close.

She said a refrigerator her mother bought at Sears broke after two years and still hasn't been fixed.

As of May, there were fewer than 900 Sears stores, which is down from a 2012 peak of 4,000 stores. But in recent years, she's been disappointed by the lack of customer service and outdated stores.

The company assessed each of its stores across the country and identified those which were under-performing and not profitable - 98 of the stores were unprofitable in fiscal year 2017 and the other 44 produced "flat or marginal profits". Walmart Inc. supplanted Sears as the biggest retailer in the early 1990s.

A Kmart that was demolished in Staten Island, New York, will result in rents 727 percent higher when the new site opens with new tenants in 2020, Kimco Realty Corp said in a statement Monday, a sign of the upside the bankruptcy offers.

Sears, which sold everything from Craftsman tools to Kenmore appliances, lost its footing in the 1980s with expansions into financial products such as banking, mortgages, insurance and credit cards.

US retailer Sears files for bankruptcy

As of May, it had fewer than 900 stores, down from about 1,000 at the end of past year.

Launched as a mail order company in 1892, Sears eventually grew to more than 3,500 stores nationwide. It was not immediately clear where those stores are located or how many jobs would be affected.

The filing comes after rescue efforts engineered by chief executive and chairman Eddie Lampert. Then, about 90 years ago, the automobile changed Americans' relationship to retail, making drive-to chain retailers a viable model.

Washington Prime Group, which owns the Westshore store (the last Sears remaining in Tampa), negotiated to terminate Sears lease early and has taken ownership of the space with plans for something new.

Sears had been drowning in debt and reportedly could not afford a $134 million repayment that had been due on Monday. While other traditional retailers enjoyed strong holiday sales, Sears and Kmart both reported sharp drops.

Still, even given Lampert's mismanagement and Sears' drawn-on decline, Rosenblum distilled the company's downfall to one word: tragedy.

A Columbia Gramophone Grand pictured in a Sears Roebuck catalog from 1902.

There is a Sears Hometown store in Atchison, Kansas.

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