Sears closing Twelve Oaks Mall, Muskegon stores

Breana Noble
The Detroit News
In a Dec. 5, 2005 file photo, a shopper heads into the Sears department store at the Richmond Towne Center mall in Richmond Heights, Ohio. Sears Holdings Inc.'s statement Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, said that Sears and Kmart have evicted some Trump-branded items from their online stores, but won't specify how many and emphasize that hundreds of products are still available through its third-party online marketplace.  (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

Two more Michigan Sears stores, including the location at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, are closing, the company said Friday.

Hours ahead of the deadline for bids to keep the company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Sears Holdings Corp. said it had informed employees at 80 Kmart and Sears stores nationwide that they are closing in late March 2019. Sears did not specify how the locations were selected.

The list includes the Sears store at the Novi mall as well as a location in Muskegon and its auto center. No Michigan Kmart stores were listed.

The Sears closing at Twelve Oaks was of little surprise, said Maria Mainville, director of strategic communications for the mall's owner, Taubman Centers Inc.

"Sears has not been a strong contributor for many years so its closing should have very little impact," she said in an email. "We are confident that the reinvention of the space will bring something exciting to our shoppers."

The two closures will leave nine remaining traditional Sears stores in Michigan: Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Grandville, Lansing, Lincoln Park, Livonia, Portage, Saginaw and Westland.

Liquidation sales are expected to begin in two weeks.

The once-dominant retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October, when it announced it was closing 142 unprofitable stores, including four in Michigan. In Metro Detroit that includes the Sears along Southfield Road in Lincoln Park and in Ann Arbor’s Briarwood Mall,

The company was accepting acquisition bids until 4 p.m. Friday as outlined in a court filing. Sears chairman Eddie Lampert and his hedge fund ESL Holdings Inc. have been the potential buyer.

Sources told Bloomberg News that Lampert is seeking additional time to round up financing for his bid including from Bank of America Corp. Sears has the flexibility to extend the deadline or make other changes that might promote more bids.

Earlier this month, Lampert filed a $4.6 billion nonbinding offer for 500 of the company's stores, though he was seeking almost $1 billion to support his rescue effort.

Representatives for Sears, based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, and for Bank of America declined to comment. Officials at Lazard, the investment banker for the retailer, didn’t immediately respond to messages. Lampert and ESL Investments also didn’t respond to messages.

Bloomberg News contributed.