Sears closing 80 stores, including two in Maryland, amid bankruptcy deadline

The struggling company was expected to close 80 stores by March as it faced possible liquidation.

Sears associates were told December 27 and liquidation sales are expected to begin in two weeks. At the time of the filing, Sears had just under 700 stores and planned to shut down 142 unprofitable stores. Lansing's Sears has dodged another round of closings.

Lampert persuaded three lenders to finance the $4.4 billion offer, according to a statement from ESL Investments.

Sears Holdings listed $6.9 billion in assets and $11.3 billion in liabilities in documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of NY. Earlier this month, he said he meant to offer $4.6 billion for the stores and assets.

As the deadline looms for Lampert to submit his offer, Sears advisors only have until January 4, to make the decision on whether he is a "qualified bidder".

ESL said that should its bid be accepted, it expects the company to emerge from bankruptcy.

The charges entail markdowns, severance costs and lease termination costs arising from store closures, which the company announced in October, when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Representatives for Sears, based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, and for Bank of America declined to comment. The Santa Barbara Sears store closure added up to another 72 jobs. Last week, for example, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Drain allowed the beleaguered retailer to sell its home-improvement service business to Service.com for $60 million. Most of the 80 stores will shut down by late March. On the Coast, the Sears at Edgewater Mall, an anchor retailer there, has already been demolished and replaced by a movie theater.

Sears Holdings Corp. got another chance at survival after Chairman Eddie Lampert put together a last-minute, last-ditch bid to buy the retailer out of bankruptcy.

  • Wendy Palmer