Sears stores in Columbia, Westminster and Bowie will close as the beleaguered parent company, Sears Holdings Corp., goes through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, the organization announced today.
Two Kmart stores in Southern Maryland will also close as part of an effort to shutter 142 unprofitable retail locations as Sears Holdings Corp. attempts to reorganize.
The struggling department store will still maintain area locations at Security Square Mall, Marley Station Mall in Glen Burnie and White Marsh Mall, as well as an outlet store in Timonium, for the time being. But their future is also uncertain.
According to multiple reports, Sears is close to a deal with lenders to keep the lights on through Christmas, when consumers load up on gifts for family and friends.
Once a thriving mail-order business that grew into the largest retailer in the country, Sears has struggled in recent years as competition has increased both online, with the likes of Amazon, and in shopping centers. Some critics blame now-former CEO Eddie Lampert, who announced today he would step down but maintain his title as chairman, for stripping the company for parts and keeping himself protected from any harm through real estate deals involving Sears and Kmart stores.
Before today’s bankruptcy filing, Sears had an estimated 68,000 employees, 32,000 of them full-time, according to the Chicago Tribune. That’s down drastically from 178,000 employees in January 2016.