Report: Sears to close stores after failed bid by chairman

January 8, 2019

Sears Holdings plans to close its remaining stores in bankruptcy, according to CNBC, with the company having spent the 2018 holiday season closing a Milford department store leaving Danbury as its last toehold in southwestern Connecticut.

Through his ESL Investments hedge fund, Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert had made a $4.4 billion bid for assets of Sears that was unsuccessful, according to CNBC’s report that cited multiple unidentified sources.

Those individuals indicated that with no other competitive bidders having come forward, the retail icon’s only remaining path is liquidation, though one source told CNBC that ESL plans to continue to press its proposal in hopes of swaying the Sears board.

According to CNBC, Sears pushed back a scheduled Tuesday morning hearing in order to buy time for any late resolution of negotiations. As of early Tuesday afternoon, Sears had posted no notice on its investors website on any change in its outlook, and had made no changes to a list of stores slated for closure.

An earlier round of closures included a Sears department store at the Connecticut Post Mall in Milford, as well as a nearby Kmart and with Sears adding a Kmart location in Vernon to its list as of late December.

A few years ago, Sears split its Danbury Fair store in half to remain in the popular mall, with the European apparel retailer Primark taking the top level. As of October, Sears had about 400 remaining stores, including a Sears department store in Manchester, and a workforce numbering about 68,000 people.

Lampert’s hedge fund had been located in Greenwich where he listed formal residency until 2012, when he relocated ESL to Miami.

Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman

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