What Sears’ Bankruptcy Will Mean for Holiday Shoppers

Sears' bankruptcy comes with big sales before the holidays.

    Sears filed for Chapter 11 file bankruptcy on Oct. 15, 2018. The store will shut down more than 140 stores by the end of 2018 and hold a massive liquidation sale later on in the season. In addition, company CEO Eddie Lampert has stepped down from his position.

    In recent years, Sears, which also owns Kmart, displayed all of the telltale signs of a cash-strapped retailer in peril: record low stock prices, layoffs, store closures and certain stores in structural decay.

    Click to see the retailers that closed the most stores in the last year.

    The company filed for bankruptcy after it was unable to resolve its debt repayment of $134 million, which was due on Oct. 15. All of this comes right before the holiday shopping season, during which the retailer has historically seen its highest cash injection.

    See: The Future of Sears, Bebe and Other US Retailers Is in Doubt

    Sears CEO Blames Amazon and Low Sales

    Lampert has been a fixture at the helm for more than a decade. Lampert has been quick to peg the company’s shortcomings on changing consumer preferences and the rise of e-commerce. The former Wall Street-guru-turned-CEO has been dipping into his hedge fund, ESL Investments, as a last-ditch effort to cauterize the wounds.

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    Sears is just another retailer to fall amid the rise of e-commerce, namely Amazon, but it’s likely that Sears contributed to the demise of Sears. As Sears has struggled to keep up in the digital marketplace, a series of decisions at the hand of Lampert haven’t done the company — now more than a century old — any favors.

    Related: Lowe’s Plans $400 Million Shutdown of All Orchard Supply Stores

    Under Lampert’s leadership, Sears locations around the country have been closed or in-store sales associates have been cut to the bare minimum in an effort to conserve costs. Meanwhile, when rival retailers like JCPenney were met with sagging sales and foot traffic, the company decided to diversify its product line to include more baby products in the absence of Toys R Us and Babies R Us.

    Sears Liquidation Sales Start in November

    Shoppers looking to snag holiday deals on Sears’ inventory are in luck. The company has announced plans to hold liquidation sales for certain stores, and the next wave of store closures will begin next month, according to a company statement. Independent of store closures, online shoppers can score deals like deeply discounted fitness equipment and kitchen appliances.

      Click to discover who’s surviving the U.S. retail meltdown — and the best big-ticket stocks for investors.

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      About the Author

      Stephanie Asymkos

      Stephanie is a New York City-based writer. Her work frequently appears in Business Insider, where she's a lifestyle contributor. She's versed in the topics of social media, lifestyle, personal finance and travel.

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