Jasper Kmart closing as Sears files bankruptcy

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Sears Holdings announced plans Monday to close 142 unprofitable stores as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Sears expects liquidation sales to begin shortly.

The real estate investment trusts that own the malls and shopping centers where many Sears stores are anchor tenants have waited years for the retailer's demise to renovate the sites and boost rent, although redevelopment costs may strain some plans.

As of August, the 132-year-old company had 506 locations, including 482 full-line department stores, as well as 360 Kmart stores, according to a public filing.

The appliance maker said Sears accounted for only 2 percent of its global net sales as of September 30.

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At its peak, the operator of Sears and Kmart had around 4,000 stores, but it will now be left with a little more than 500, according to the Associated Press. The company's comparable sales growth is spotty, and it still seems to be figuring out how to incorporate this lower-margin product category into its business in a healthy way. "But they didn't run it quite well, and that's the effect of not running something right", said 61-year-old retiree Paul Thompson, a Kmart customer at one of its stores in Bridgehampton, New York.

But the company, which has close to 70,000 employees, has not turned a profit since 2011, and critics say Lampert let the stores deteriorate over the years, even as he bought the company's stock and lent it money, making him its largest shareholder and creditor. Besides Sears, retail bankruptcies such as Toys R Us and Bon-Ton Stores Inc created vacancies.

"While we have made progress, the plan has yet to deliver the results we have desired".

Lampert's ESL also is in talks to purchase "a large portion of the company's store base", and other company assets will be put up for sale in the coming months, Sears said in a news release.

Sears, the iconic USA department store chain, has filed for bankruptcy as it struggles with $5.6bn (£4.3bn) of debt and the relentless march of online shopping.

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The company been drowning in debt exceeding $5 billion and reportedly could not make a $134 million payment that had been due on Monday.

In a March 2017 government filing, Sears said there was "substantial doubt" it would be able to keep its doors open - but insisted its turnaround efforts would mitigate that risk.

The filing comes after rescue efforts engineered by chief executive and chairman Eddie Lampert. If any of them stumble when this market share is being all but donated to them, that might suggest they'll also have a tough time stealing Kmart's home goods sales or Sears's apparel sales. The company once dominated the American landscape, but whether a smaller Sears can be viable remains in question.

Lampert had pledged hed lead Sears comeback after buying the company for $11 billion in 2005.

The company that for years was called Sears, Roebuck & Co. became an American icon with its famous catalog, and the chain boomed in the decades after World War II along with a growing middle class.

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