Sears hires advisers to prepare bankruptcy filing: report

By RetailFOXBusiness

Sears on death watch?

Strategic Resource Group Managing Director Burt Flickinger on the future of Sears, Barnes & Noble, mall vacancies reaching a seven-year high and the outlook for Christmas holiday sales.

Sears Holdings is getting things in order for a bankruptcy filing that could come sometime this week.

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SHLDSEARS HOLDINGS CORP.0.47-0.05-9.48%

The retailer has reportedly hired M-III Partners to make the preparations for the filing, people familiar with the situation tell Dow Jones Newswires.

A debt payment deadline may be the final straw.

Sears has $134 million in debt due on Monday.

In recent days, M-III staff have been at the retailer's headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, one person said.

Sears continues to discuss other options and could still avert an in-court restructuring, the people added.

Edward Lampert, the hedge-fund manager who is Sears's chairman, chief executive, largest shareholder and biggest creditor, could rescue the company, as he has done in the past by making the payment.

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Sears has more than $11 billion in cumulative losses since 2011, and its annual sales have dropped nearly 60 percent in that period to $16.7 billion, according to Dow Jones.

On Tuesday, Sears added restructuring expert Alan Carr as a director, expanding the six-person board to seven. Mr. Carr runs a restructuring advisory firm and previously worked as a restructuring lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

Shares of Sears, which traded as high as $144 over a decade ago, closed Tuesday at 59 cents, a sign that investors are bracing for a potential bankruptcy filing or restructuring.