Sears out of bankruptcy, a handful of stores are left

Sears Holdings has emerged from bankruptcy after more than 10,000 lawsuits and a four-year stay that saw the retailer shrink from nearly 700 to fewer than a dozen.

The bankruptcy estate reorganization plan went into effect on Oct. 29, marking the end of Chapter 11 and the beginning of the process of liquidating its remaining assets.

Sears Holdings is a shell company. He sold his stores in February 2019 to ESL Investments, an affiliate of former Sears chairman Eddie Lampert. The $5.2 billion sale includes more than 400 stores.

Syracuse University Professor of Retail Exercise Ray Wimer doesn’t expect the remaining 20+ Sears stores to survive. “They don’t have a sense of what’s important to customers and the amount of competition in the retail market that offers similar products means that the end will come at some point,” he told FOX Business.

Where America bought it

Sears once billed itself as “Where America Shops” and boasted merchandise lines from supermodel Cheryl Tiegs and “Charlie’s Angel’s” star Jaclyn Smith.

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Customers shop at a Sears store after serving shoppers from around Chicagoland for 50 years, the remaining Illinois Sears store is closing its doors this weekend, in Chicago, Illinois, United States on November 14, 2021 (Photo by Jacek Boczarski/ Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Customers shop at a Sears store near a store in Chicago, Illinois.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

At its peak, Sears, Roebuck was the largest retailer in the world, with approximately 3,500 Sears and Kmart stores, including 2,350 full-line and non-brand stores, and 1,100 specialty retailers. Sears also had a history of popular brands and service businesses, including Kenmore, DieHard, Craftsman, Sears Home Services, Sears Auto Centers and Innovel.

Competitor Walmart had more than 3,000 stores: 1,353 stores and 1,713 Supercenters.

Lampert, the former chairman of Kmart Holding, bought Sears for $11 billion in March 2005 in an effort to fend off brick-and-mortar rivals like Walmart and e-commerce rivals like Amazon.

At the time of the merger, the Sears-Kmart group, known as Transformco, had annual revenue of $55 billion, a fifth of Walmart’s 2004 revenue of $256 billion.

Sears once declared itself as "Where America Stores" and boasted commercial lines from supermodel Cheryl Tiegs and "Charlie's Angels" stars Jaclyn Smith.
Sears once billed itself as “Where America Shops” and boasted merchandise lines from supermodel Cheryl Tiegs and “Charlie’s Angel’s” star Jaclyn Smith.
AFP via Getty Images

Amazon had annual revenue of $2.54 billion. Since then, the world’s largest online retailer has grown to $469.8 billion in sales while Walmart finished 2021 at $572.8 billion. Transformco is private and does not report financial results.

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Sears tried to stave off bankruptcy by closing stores and selling off goods. Sears sold its Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker in 2017 for $775 million and closed 300 stores in 2018.

It wasn’t enough.

The company entered bankruptcy in October 2018 with 687 stores. Like many brick and mortar retailers, the supermarket collapsed due to declining sales. Revenues fell 53.8% in the five years before the bankruptcy, prompting some vendors to seek non-standard payment schedules, cut back on utilities or ask for cash in advance as a way to boost sales.

Lampert bought the rest of Sears’ stock in a January 2019 stock market and bought Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores in June. He sold DieHard to Advance Auto for $200 million in December 2019.

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Sear sold its stores in February 2019 to ESL Investments, an affiliate of former Sears chairman Eddie Lampert.
Sear sold its stores in February 2019 to ESL Investments, an affiliate of former Sears chairman Eddie Lampert.
Getty Images

Transformco has continued to sell stores and closed the last of its 15 Sears Auto Center locations in January.

Professor Wimer says that, based on what he has seen, he expects the Sears stores to die slowly, and that it is unlikely that anyone will be interested in buying Sears stock, if Lampert wants to sell it, given a small share. remaining stores.

There are now less than a dozen Sears stores, including the smaller Hometown Stores, according to BroStocks and the Sears website.

Surviving Sears Stores:

  • Alaska: Anchorage (Home and Life)
  • California: Burbank, Concord, Stockton, Whittier
  • Colorado: Fort Collins (Tool & Mattress)
  • Florida: Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach Gardens
  • Hawaii: Honolulu (Furniture and mattress)
  • Kansas: Overland Park (Home and Life)
  • Louisiana: Lafayette (Home & Life)
  • Maryland: Frederick
  • Massachusetts: Braintree
  • New Jersey: Jersey City
  • North Carolina: Greensboro
  • Pennsylvania: Camp Hill
  • Puerto Rico: San Juan
  • Texas: El Paso, Pharr (Furniture and mattresses)
  • Washington: Tukwila, Union Gap

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