We first wondered if it was the end of Sears (and its sister company, Kmart) when they announced they were closing 46 more stores.

Now Sears has declared bankruptcy. Is it game over?

 

Sears declared bankruptcy when it couldn’t make a $134 million debt payment.

It’s been rough goings for Sears Holdings lately. They’ve lost $11 billion since 2011 and have been closing many of their locations to save money — but still weren’t able to find the $134 million they needed. They declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday, which many experts predicted.

 

Sears says they’re going to try to survive.

Although the company’s major lenders have been pressing for liquidation instead of corporate reorganization — Sears has indicated that it will try to stay afloat by keeping their most profitable stores open.

Much in the same way Toys”R”Us is looking to make its own comeback, Sears execs think that by shedding their debt burden they’ll be able to have a fresh start and a chance at success.

The lenders aren’t yet convinced the plan will work, so there’s no telling what’ll happen in the next few months.

 

The number of open Sears/Kmart stores will continue to dwindle through 2018.

Sears/Kmart has about 700 stores still open — and 68,000 workers — but not for long. Sears is planning to close 46 stores next month, and at least 142 by the end of 2018. The company said even more stores could close as part of the bankruptcy.

That’s a lot of stores. Back in February, Sears/Kmart had 1,000 stores open with 89,000 employees.

 

Expect to see going-out-of-business sales as stores close now through April 2019.

Liquidation sales for the latest round of closures began last month, and more will roll out in the coming weeks and months.

But be careful! Liquidators often mark UP inventory to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price at first, and then discount from there progressively over the next few months.

For example, at a Sears in Minnesota, the price of a Craftsman riding mower jumped from $1,499 to $1,889 when the liquidation “sale” began.

Stay woke and compare the “sale” prices to like items elsewhere.

 

Sears closures aren’t great news for malls.

Anchor stores drive foot traffic in malls — which is key as malls try to navigate an online shopping world. Should Sears close all their stores, it would create “dark anchors” in nearly 500 malls, some of which already have big vacancies from other stores like JCPenney.

Expect to see some malls a little more vacant in the coming months.

 

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