Nearly 10 months out of bankruptcy, Sears is limping into the holiday shopping season.
Eddie Lampert, the hedge fund billionaire who promised to save 425 Sears and Kmart stores and roughly 45,000 jobs when he bought the company out of bankruptcy, has seen his $5.2 billion lifeline wither.
While there were plans for new small stores centered on appliances, only three have opened. The chain is still shrinking. By February, the store count will be down to 128.
Many of the stores that remain have the same old problems. They’re grungy and understaffed, poorly stocked and losing vendors. At the end of the year — a crucial time for retailers — Sears’ threadbare Black Friday catalog signals it’s going to have problems getting shoppers to its doors. And online, it can’t compete with Amazon and its traditional rivals.