Sears to close at Mall of America in March 2019

Sears facing liquidation says it will close 80 more stores

The department store stayed afloat thanks to Lampert bailing it out with billions of dollars of loans through his hedge fund ESL Investments.

ESL is the only party offering to buy the company as a whole, CNBC reports, citing people familiar with the matter. If he doesn't and Sears receives no other bids, the company could extend the deadline or liquidate its assets. At that time, ESL could participate in the auction against liquidation bidders on January 14. Kmart and Sears announced its merger in 2004.

Eddie Lampert is asking for more time to round up financing for his bid to keep Sears Holdings Corp. alive, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

That's in addition to 182 stores already slated for closure, including 142 by the end of 2108 and 40 by February. And it comes as it's lacking support from many vendors who have been reluctant to work with Sears as they fear they won't get paid.

The ESL bid follows a series of moves that Lampert has offered to salvage the company over the past few years.

Sears is not alone as J.C. Penney is feeling the pressure with its shares dipping below $1 for the first time on Wednesday, according to the news outlet.

Representatives for Sears, based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, and for Bank of America declined to comment.

In Mississippi, Kmart's website also lists a store in Columbus.

Lambert, a former hedge fund manager, was CEO of the company for five years and has served even longer as chairman. But the cultures of Sears and Kmart employees were different, as were its shoppers - cross-selling Sears' appliances and Kmart's apparel proved less successful than originally planned.

As of this morning, Sears stock was up about 7.5 percent.

Earlier this month, Sears said it would take a charge of about $443 million arising from store closures, Reuters reported, citing a regulatory filing.

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