Sears may be down to its last 24 hours

Sears facing liquidation says it will close 80 more stores

Sears facing liquidation says it will close 80 more stores

Sears, the 125-year-old retail icon, has less than 24 hours to survive. The company had 68,000 workers at the time of its bankruptcy filing.

Lampert's proposal is an effort to pull the company out of bankruptcy using his hedge fund, ESL Investments.

These sources also told CNBC that ESL Investments is the only party offering to buy Sears as a whole.

However, as of Thursday afternoon, Lampert had not submitted his bid for failure to raise the cash, insiders say.

Earlier this month, Lampert, who has controlled Sears for more than a decade, made a preliminary bid that included hedge fund Cyrus Capital Partners. Only then could ESL take part in an auction against liquidation bids on January 14. "Nonetheless, the quickly approaching cutoff puts Sears the closest to death it has ever been", the outlet reports. Without this, Sears will likely be split up by the liquidators. That process would take weeks, according to the guidelines laid out by the bankruptcy court.

Sears, once the biggest retailer in the U.S, began as a mail order catalogue in the 1880s, featuring items from bicycles to sewing machines to houses. The company has struggled over the last few years as malls have become less convenient and clothing trends more casual, CNBC reported.

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If Lambert does not submit a proposal in time, both Sears and Kmart will be put in the direction of liquidation. But the cultures of Sears and Kmart employees were different, as were its shoppers - cross-selling Sears' appliances and Kmart's apparel proved less successful than originally planned. The company has been losing money and closing stores for years, and many employees blame its former CEO turned chairman, Lampert. That meant investing less in its stores and advertising, believing such investments were optional.

Even if ESL does submit a formal offer to buy the business with the intent of keeping it in operation, it doesn't guarantee Sears would escape liquidation.

Sears and Lampert did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The day of reckoning has come for Sears. But Sears finally hit a cliff, when it had a $134 million payment it could not meet. The asset-based loan he is seeking has faced scrutiny from investment banks, tired of lending to a business that hasn't turned a profit since 2010. If he doesn't - and if no other bidders arise, Sears will have a critical decision to make. Instead, he wants to forgive about $1.8 billion of the debt he holds from Sears.

But the iconic retailer is reportedly already considering closing up to 80 more stores, having announced it was to shut an initial 142 when it filed for bankruptcy on October 15, plus an additional 40 unprofitable stores the following month.

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