Sears is hammering out deal to stay open in bankruptcy
Negotiations over the fate of Sears Holdings Corp. have moved away from a possible liquidation toward a plan that would keep some stores open through Christmas, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
The talks with lenders envision a restructuring using the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, with Sears filing on Sunday at the earliest, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential matters. Negotiators are discussing a loan of about $300 million to $500 million, the person said.
The exact number of Sears stores that would remain open hasn’t been finalized, but the intention is to maintain the 125-year-old chain as a going concern, the person said. Almost 90,000 jobs are at stake, according to Sears filings earlier this year.
CNBC reported the loan and negotiations earlier, and the Wall Street Journal earlier reported that some lenders were pushing for liquidation. Talks are still in progress and the terms of any deal could still change, the person said.
A representative for Sears, which is based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The department-store chain once ranked as the biggest U.S. retailer, with a reputation built on its money-back guarantee of customer satisfaction. But it wasn’t able to keep up with shifting consumer habits as online rivals siphoned off shoppers, and turnaround efforts were hobbled by mountains of debt.
Since 2012, losses at Sears have piled up, and multiple efforts to steady the company by Chief Executive Officer Eddie Lampert – sometimes with his own money – have failed to restore its fortunes.