The future of the US commercial chain Sears Holdings hangs in the balance. Again. After years of trying to revive her business, the owner of two of the most iconic commercial chains in the United States completes the process to declare herself in suspension of payments. Eddy Lambert would seek to restructure a debt that puts at risk his survival a company that has 125 years of history and that changed the way to buy. Their shares plunge into the stock market on Wednesday.
Lambert already publicly admitted a year and a half ago that the closing of stores – with the consequent layoffs– It was going to be insufficient to redirect the financial situation of the company. The problems have been dragging it since 2005 merged Sears with Kmart hypermarkets, which acquired by 11,000 million. The group had 355,000 employees and 3,800 stores in North America.
Sears crowned what was once the tallest skyscraper in the world, in Chicago. That was before Walmart began to impose its low-priced policy and that Amazon would break into the retail sector. The last time the holding company had benefits was eight years ago. Since then accumulated losses of 11,000 million, its sales fell by 60% and has a debt of 5,500 million.
Lambert manages Sears from its ESL Investments fund. At the beginning of the year he presented a new restructuring plan anticipating that he would not be able to meet the company's financial needs. But it proved insufficient and needs 1,000 million a year to operate its 900 stores. In this situation, the only thing left to know was when Sears Holdings was going to suspend payments.
The tycoon takes several weeks in discussions with banks to provide themselves with liquidity to continue operating during the bankruptcy process. The next payment of the debt is scheduled for next Monday, of 134 million dollars. Lambert, who controls 31% of society and another 19% through ESL, managed to redirect similar situations by mobilizing his own personal fortune.
It can be different by the time. At the moment, the company is working to finalize the next step with the specialist in suspension of payments M-III Partners, who advised him in the latest restructuring, and Lazard. The American financial media anticipates that the declaration of bankruptcy could materialize in the coming days, although the final word is Lambert's.