Two more Illinois Sears locations are among 80 new store closures announced by the company Friday as a major deadline nears.
Sears Holdings, which is based in Hoffman Estates, said it informed employees at the closing locations that the stores will shut down in late March.
Liquidation sales are expected to begin in two weeks, the company said.
The latest round of closures is in addition to the 40 stores the company previously announced would close in February.
Among the closing locations are a Sears at 235 Saint Clair Sq. in Fairview Heights and one at 7200 Harrison Ave. in Cherry Valley.
The 125-year-old icon and employer of more than 68,000 filed for bankruptcy in October.
Its last shot at survival is a $4.6 billion proposal put forward by its chairman, Eddie Lampert, to buy the company out of bankruptcy through his hedge fund, ESL Investments. ESL is the only party offering to buy Sears as a whole, people familiar with the situation tell CNBC. Without that bid or another like it, liquidators will break the company up into pieces.
But as Lampert stares down a deadline of Dec. 28 to submit his offer, he is quickly running out of time. As of Thursday afternoon, Lampert had neither submitted his bid, nor rounded up financing, the people familiar said. Should Lampert submit a bid, Sears’ advisors would have until Jan. 4 to decide whether he is a “qualified bidder.” Only then, could ESL take part in an auction against liquidation bids on Jan. 14.
Jim Mourey, assistant professor of marketing at DePaul University, says it would be smart for retailers to figure out creative ways to incorporate unique, in-store experiences for consumers.
“Walmart changed the game for Sears years ago by offering a greater variety of products at lower prices along with more efficient distribution and operations just as Sears had changed the game for mom and pop retail shops in its day,” he said. “Of course, more recently, Amazon and other online retailers have changed the retail game even more. This evolution is a natural part of business: companies should (and will always) continue to change in an attempt to find the best, most up-to-date way to satisfy consumer needs.”
The quickly approaching cutoff puts Sears the closest to death it has ever been.
Full list of closures here.