Sears is considering filing for bankruptcy protection as soon as this week as it faces a large debt repayment on Monday, reports The Wall Street Journal. While the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) is up 6.5% year to date, and fellow department stores like Macy's (M), Kohl's (KSS), and Nordstrom (JWN) have climbed more than 30% since the start of the year, Sears has lagged-and how.
Sears stock, which once traded at more than $100 a share, is down to 40 cents a share. Even after several rounds of store closures across the country in recent years, the holding company still operates around 500 Sears stores and 360 Kmart stores. Lampert and ESL are the company's two largest shareholders. Brand added that he had significantly cut down on his Sears bond holdings earlier this year amid concerns from his clients.
Sears' and Kmart's chairman, chief executive, largest shareholder and biggest creditor - reportedly is looking for a larger restructuring than just anteing up more cash to bail out the cash-strapped retailers.
In August, the board said it was weighing an offer from Lampert that Sears should sell its Kenmore brand and said ESL might offer to buy it if it was willing to sell.
The Wall Street Journal quoted sources saying Lampert wants to restructure and is anxious that a bankruptcy filing will lead to a liquidation, which has happened with so many retailers, the most recent being Toys R Us.
Sears had previously said there was "substantial doubt" the company would be able to stay in business and sustain as online sales and chains such as Walmart continue to take over the market.
If Sears were to file for bankruptcy, its financial performance during the upcoming holiday season could prove crucial in determining its future, according to the sources. Sears warned it could go out of business as it waits for approval from the committee on the deal.
J.C. Penney's former CEO Marvin Ellison in 2016 positioned the Plano-based retailer to win shoppers from Sears as it closed stores by adding kitchen and laundry appliances to stores. The Journal also reported the billionaire Lampert, who has rescued the company in the past, could make the payment to avert an in-court restructuring.
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