Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Sears Holdings has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will close nearly 150 stores by the end of the year, the iconic retailer announced Monday.
Sears said 142 stores would close in the next three months. That's in addition to the 46 stores earlier targeted for closure.
The longtime American shopping mall anchor is trying to stave off a complete shutdown of not only Sears department stores but the Kmart stores it also owns.
As of August, the 132-year-old company had 506 locations, including 482 full-line department stores, as well as 360 Kmart stores, according to a public filing.
Sears had a $134 million debt payment due Monday that it couldn't afford, prompting the bankruptcy filing. The company will remain in business during the proceedings. Sears stock is down 89 percent year-to-date.
Eddie Lampert resigned as CEO but will remain as chairman, Sears said. He made several debt deals that kept Sears afloat but didn't appear to have a strategy to turn the company around. He's also one of the company's largest investors so he'll be a debtor and creditor during the bankruptcy proceedings.
"While we have made progress, the plan has yet to deliver the results we have desired," Lampert said in a statement.
"As we look toward the holiday season, Sears and Kmart stores remain open for business and our dedicated associates look forward to serving our members and customers."
Lampert is using his hedge fund to purchase the Kenmore brand from Sears. The Craftsman brand of lawn equipment and tools has been sold.
It's been a rough year for large brick-and-mortar stores, with Toys 'R' Us failing to emerge from bankruptcy proceedings and closing all its stores.
Like most traditional big box stores, Sears faces intense pressure from online retailer Amazon. The two recently partnered on a deal where customers could buy tires on Amazon and have them shipped to Sears stores where the automotive department could install them.
"The carcass has had everything picked off its bones," said Paula Rosenblum, co-founder and managing partner of RSR Research. "This is one of the saddest retail stories I've ever seen. Sears was the Amazon of its day."