Sears hires a bankruptcy expert

11 Octobre, 2018, 02:44 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Sears store in Garden City NY. REUTERS  Shannon StapletonMore

If Sears does file for bankruptcy, it could try to stay in business, using the court process to shed debt and unaffordable leases.

Sears, once the world's largest retailer, has struggled in the face of declining foot traffic in its stores. The stock is down some 90% in 2018, and just keeps falling.

Representatives from Sears didn't immediately return requests for comment.

That may be bad news for Sears shareholders that have hung on this long, but some malls are likely breathing a long-awaited sigh of relief, writes Wells Fargo's Jeffrey Donnelly. 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.

The handwriting is on the wall: Sears appears to be nearing bankruptcy. The company added a new director who is familiar with bankruptcies and restructuring. When Lampert took over as head of the company five years ago, there were 2,000 stories.

Looming before Sears is a $134 million debt payment that comes due on Monday.

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Sears and Kmart had 89,000 employees as of February 3 of this year, according to a company filing. Toys "R" Us' creditors lost faith in the retailer after revenue during last year's holiday season failed to meet their expectations.

Sears revealed Tuesday night that investor Bruce Berkowitz of Fairholme Capital Management dumped 142,000 shares of Sears in the last few days, for only 59 cents to 65 cents a share.

The Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based retailer, once an iconic American retail brand, has posted seven straight years of losses, while its sales have not grown since the 2008 financial crisis.

Sears acquired discount chain Kmart in an $11 billion deal engineered by Lampert in 2004. The retailer warned last month it may go out of business if the deals proposed by Lampert were not approved.

Lampert also expects that Sears could get more value for its assets by selling them while it is a going concern, the newspaper added.

Hedge fund manager Edward Lampert, who serves as Sears' chairman, CEO, largest shareholder, and biggest creditor, announced an attempt at restructuring the company's debt on September 24.

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