Sears Holdings Corp. has hired an advisory firm to work on a bankruptcy filing that could come as early as this week, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night.
Citing people familiar with the situation, the Journal said employees of M-III Partners have spent weeks working on a potential filing and have spent time at the troubled retailer’s Hoffman Estates headquarters in recent days. Sears is also considering other options and could choose not to file for bankruptcy, the people said.
The report comes hours after Sears announced it had added a restructuring expert to its board. Alan Carr is managing member and CEO of Drivetrain, a restructuring advisory firm.
Looming before Sears is a $134 million debt payment that comes due on Monday.
Last month, Sears CEO Edward Lampert said the money-losing company, which also owns Kmart, must “immediately” take steps to right itself, calling on the company to restructure more than $1 billion in debt and sell off about $1.5 billion in real estate and $1.75 billion in other assets, including the company’s popular Kenmore brand. Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments, offered to buy Kenmore and certain other assets earlier this year.
One of the most dominant retailers of the 20th century, Sears has lost more than $11 billion since 2011 and has struggled to win back shoppers. The company has closed hundreds of Sears and Kmart stores and sold pieces of its business, including the Craftsman tools brand. The retailer closed its last Sears store in Chicago in July and has announced plans to close another 46 stores by November, including a Kmart in Steger and a Sears in Bloomington.
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