Sears Has Filed for Bankruptcy

Oct. 15, 2018

Sears Holdings Corp. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company will close another 142 stores by the end of the year, and CEO and Chairman Edward Lampert will step down as CEO.

According to initial court documents in the case, which was filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, as of Aug. 4, 2018, Sears had assets of $6.937 billion, and total debts of $11.339 billion. As of that same Aug. 4 date, the company operated 844 Sears and Kmart stores in the U.S. (Modern Tire Dealer learned in a previous company filing that as of May 5, 2018, there were 529 Sears stores in the U.S.) In August a company spokesperson told MTD that 295 Sears Auto Centers were offering tire installation services for Amazon.

Lenders have committed $300 million in financing, and the company is negotiating for an additional $300 million in financing from Lampert’s ESL Investments Inc. The company says this financing “is expected to improve the company's financial position immediately and support its operations during the financial restructuring process.”

In a release from the company on Oct. 15, the day Sears filed for bankruptcy protection, Lampert said, "Over the last several years, we have worked hard to transform our business and unlock the value of our assets. While we have made progress, the plan has yet to deliver the results we have desired, and addressing the company's immediate liquidity needs has impacted our efforts to become a profitable and more competitive retailer. The Chapter 11 process will give (Sears) the flexibility to strengthen its balance sheet, enabling the company to accelerate its strategic transformation, continue right sizing its operating model, and return to profitability. Our goal is to achieve a comprehensive restructuring as efficiently as possible, working closely with our creditors and other debtholders, and be better positioned to execute on our strategy and key priorities.

"As we look toward the holiday season, Sears and Kmart stores remain open for business and our dedicated associates look forward to serving our members and customers. We thank our vendors for their continuing support through the upcoming season and beyond. We also thank our associates for their hard work and commitment to providing millions of Americans with value and convenience."

Some of the company’s vendors are listed among Sears’ creditors who are owed the most money. Given the company’s lengthy efforts to rightsize itself, it’s probably not a surprise that the largest balances belong to those who have offered unsecured notes to the company. The single largest creditor has an unknown balance due — but the ones holding the bag are those with Sears pensions.

Here’s the list of Sears' top 20 creditors

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.Unknown
SRAC Medium Term Notes c/o BNY Midwest Trust Co.$2.3 billion
Holdings Unsecured Notes c/o Computershare Trust Co. N.A.$411 million
Holdings Unsecured PIK Notes c/o Computershare Trust Co. N.A.$222.6 million
SRAC Unsecured Notes c/o Chase Manhattan Bank N.A.$185.6 million
SRAC Unsecured PIK Notes c/o BNY Midwest Trust Co.$107.9 million
Whirlpool Corp.$23.4 million
Frigidaire Co. c/o Electrolux$18.6 million
Winia Daewoo Electronics America$15.2 million
Cardinal Health$13.9 million
Icon Health and Fitness Inc.$12.1 million
HK Greatstar International Co. Ltd.$10.4 million
Samsung Electronics America HA$8.1 million
Apex Tool International LLC$6.6 million
Black & Decker U.S. Inc.$5.9 million
Eastern Prime Textile Limited$5.8 million
Winners Industry Co. Ltd.$5.4 million
Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.$5.3 million
Active Media Services Inc.$5.2 million
Automotive Rentals Inc.$4.8 million