In 2017, Sears suffered branch closures, job losses, and executive departures, and the company was sued by two of its suppliers. At that time, several Sears stores were closed in the United States, and in October 2018 Sears Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In 2005, the RWSEARs Watch Company bought Kmart, founded in 1899, for $1.2 billion.
Sears filed for bankruptcy three years ago, but some of its stores and locations remain in operation. Many Sears and Kmart stores have been closed under a new company called TransformCo. In November 2019, the company announced that 96 locations would close by February 2020. At that time the company did not say it would close any more stores, but local reports indicate that more stores were closed, leaving 36 Sears and 30 Kmart stores, according to a recent Forbes article.
Her longtime investor and CEO Eddie Lampert, who kept her alive with a company called Transformco, announced in a press release in mid-January that he had completed a sale order for five closed Kmart locations with Target.
On January 16, 2019, Sears Holdings announced that it would stay open after Lampert won a bankruptcy auction for the company and offered to keep 400 stores open. The approval meant that 425 stores, including 223 Sears stores, would remain open and 45,000 jobs would be retained. On June 3, 2019, Sears announced that Transform Holdco has acquired Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores.
In April 2019, Sears Holdings announced the opening of three new stores and a limited range of merchandise under the Sears Home & Life brand name. The parent company of Sears and Kmart Stores, which has been merged into Holdco, announced in a press release on Thursday that 96 more Sears, Kmart and Sears Canada stores will close in the US in February and is expected to begin liquidation sales at those stores on December 2.
Sears and Kmart stores owned by the parent company TransformCo will close 13 stores by mid-April, one of the oldest American brands in retail and seven Kmart stores, according to USA Today. Several closure announcements were posted on the Facebook pages of individual stores, but there was no official statement from the parent company on the closure of the stores. Two years after TransformCo Sears and Kmarts out of bankruptcy are expected to close at least 18 Sears and eight Kmart stores by mid-April.
Sears began reopening 25 stores on May 9. In February 2018, more than 1,000 individual locations under the two nameplates left Sears and Kmart Chapter 11 after 11 years, and the company has now shrunk to just over 400 stores. With 74 open Sears stores and 48 Kmart stores, the company emerged from bankruptcy in February 2018 after less than three years with more than 1,000 stores. Ecommerce has been one of the culprits but also a lack of interest from the customers in the brand.
It will force Sears to compete with cheaper stores that have already closed, while J.C. Penney will retain about 30% of its stores this year and next. Sears, once a giant and largest retailer in the United States, will close their last Michigan department store in the coming months. The impending deluge of branch closures by other companies will diminish the value of the real estate that once represented Sears “rescue.
A sign at Sears, once the largest retailer in the United States, in the Westland mall indicates that it is closing its doors. The Sears-branded store there closed on April 4 for health reasons. The store is among 33 that are closing, including Sears in Pasadena, Texas.
Sears closed its Southland Mall and Houma-Houma stores in the summer of 2016. In 2017, Sears closed its location at the Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge after the demise of Gonzales Kmart, which was owned by Sears. In recent years, the company has closed locations nationwide and closed Sears in towns such as Novi, Twelve Oaks Mall, and Troy-Oakland Mall.
Sears Holdings filed for bankruptcy protection in 2018 and escaped liquidation in early 2019 after closing more than 3,500 stores and cutting 250,000 jobs over the past 15 years for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Sears closed hundreds of stores before exiting bankruptcy in February 2019.
As one of the oldest American brands in retail, Kmart stores will experience another round of closures with Sears and Kmart stores closing across the country in the coming months. Read on to see which Sears Kmarts are closing and why according to USA Today and to learn more about the latest on the deal – Read on to see why the legendary brand is closing its last remaining stores.
Does the bankruptcy mean Sears is Still In Business?
During the bankruptcy, Sears had eight full-line stores in Louisiana and five Kmart stores. Sears filed bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 in October 2018, closed hundreds of stores, and emerged from bankruptcy in February 2019. Its Chapter 11 filing announced that it had opened 700 stores in the US, compared with 3,500 before Sears and Kmart (the two companies merged in 2005), and that it stopped selling Whirlpool appliances it had worn since 1916 in 2017.
Spokesmen for the company did not respond to questions about their financial position and their plans for its remaining stores, but they count on the Sears and Kmart store locator on its websites shows 74 Sears departments open and 48 Kmart. If the company follows current numbers, Sears would have the lowest number.
As we noted in our similar post on the remaining Kmart in the United States, Sears Holdings Corporation came from bankruptcy as Transform Co. but continues to close stores. What an incredibly shrinking business Sears and Kmart have become, launching in 2021 with fewer than 100 locations and just two company signs, and based on their recent rate of attrition, that number could fall by half by the end of the year. Companies have been closing sites at an alarming pace in recent years, a pace that has not slowed since they emerged from bankruptcy two years ago under the ownership of parent company TransformCo.