Sears in Chapter 11

PHOTO BY JESSICA WARREN

BY KATHY KAHN

Toys R Us, Circuit City, Castro Convertibles , Robert Hall—so many chain stores have gone the way of all flesh, but Sears was the gold standard of retail from its inception in 1897 until the 1960s, when it was declared the largest retailer in the world until WalMart took the #1 position.

The company, as well as its famous catalogue, a staple of life in the late 19th Century America which boomed through the 20th, has fought the good battle but lost the war. In its heyday, it sold everything from flapjack flippers to homes, many of which are still standing across America.

Sears filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on Monday, October 15, announcing that its closing more than 140 of its Sears and Kmart stores by December, 2018. Sears Holding Corp CEO Eddie Lampert, who makes scant appearances at the retailer’s headquarters in Chicago, acquired Kmart and took it out of bankruptcy, merging it with Sears into Sears Holding Corp. The move didn’t pass the litmus test for success. Lampert is stepping down as its Chief Executive Officer but will remain Chairman of the Board.

Sears has already sold off its Craftsman Brand tools to Black & Decker and is looking for a buyer for its Kenmore and DieHard series. The Shoppes at Nanuet store looked dejected as the sun set, and the few customers exiting the store were sad to see it go.

Donald Mazzaro, an avid customer at Sears, is not so happy about their closing. He said, “I guess the online competition hurt them, like Amazon and all that. It’s a beautiful store, and it’s a shame that they must close down.”

“They haven’t gotten to the deep discounts yet, but I shop here regularly,” a Pomona resident. “I expect whatever they have left will sell out pretty quickly.”

Jessica Warren contributed to this report

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