Will Sears Survive?

Sears Holding’s creditors are suing its chairman and only possible means of staying in operation, Edward Lampert, claiming he has purposely run the company down financially to profit along the way, and make even more money through his current effort to take it out of bankruptcy.

Under his reign, Sears closed more than 3,500 stores, cut roughly 250,000 jobs and lost several billions of dollars in value, creditors’ attorneys say.

On Tuesday of this week, a bankruptcy court ruled that Lampert could keep control of Sears after its board accepted his $5.3 billion offer to keep it alive. The only alternative was what creditors wanted: to have Sears permanently close and have its assets sold off to help repay creditors at least some of what they’re owed.

Locally, Sears is closing its Mall of America store and recently shuttered other locations such as Ridgedale. It does, however, have 14 Sears Hometown stores in smaller communities throughout the state (franchised operations) that are apparently doing well and could signal what the overall parent company does going forward. Here’s a WCCO-AM radio interview that provides more perspective on what’s happened, what’s happening and what it means to Minnesotans.

Update March 4, 2019: As predicted in the last paragraph above and in the radio interview: “Sears plans to open three smaller stores in May in an attempt to reclaim shoppers by selling tools, appliances and other hard goods. The new stores, called Sears Home & Life, will be a fraction of the size of a typical Sears department store…” more