According to The Wall Street Journal, owners of the debt of Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) might rather liquidate that company than keep all or some of its stores open. This would cost as many as 130,000 jobs, which is about what the U.S. economy added in September. It is hard to remember any event that put so many people out of work.
The company, which operates Kmart and Sears stores, has been through years of store shuttering and the layoffs of tens of thousands of people. It has nearly run out of money, and it is not clear whether it can get more to continue to keep open even a fraction of its stores.
Just two months ago, Sears announced it would close another 46 Sears and Kmart locations. In May, it targeted over 100 stores. Most of the inventory of these stores was liquidated, a fate that now faces the entire company.
When Sears released its most recent quarterly numbers a month ago, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edward S. Lampert said:
As we enter the second half of 2018, we remain focused on identifying additional opportunities to streamline operations and reduce operating expenses while staying focused on our Best Members, Best Categories and Best Stores. We have a responsibility to explore opportunities to unlock the full potential of our assets for our shareholders, including third-party partnerships or the sale of our businesses. We will also continue to seek opportunities to improve value and experience for our members through our Integrated Retail Strategy and Shop Your Way membership program, which remain our key priorities. We believe these initiatives will help us to strengthen the Company, improve financial performance, and better position us for the future.
It appears that shareholders will lose out, along with approximately 130,000 workers.
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