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Sears Hometown bankruptcy is the latest chapter in a long saga

Illustration of a paper shopping bag that is on fire

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Sears Hometown Stores, an offshoot of the department store banner Sears that largely focuses on the sale of home appliances, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware.

Why it matters: It's the latest chapter in a yearslong liquidation of what was once the largest and most storied retailer in U.S. history.

Flashback: The now-defunct Sears Holdings, then under the control of billionaire Edward Lampert via his firm ESL Investments, spun off Sears Hometown Stores as a publicly traded company in 2012, receiving proceeds of $446 million.

Details: The bankrupt retailer said it operated 121 locations in 26 states and Puerto Rico in the bankruptcy filing.

  • The chain cited the lack of additional funding and the unwillingness of Transform to provide inventory and services without assurances of payment and the inability to resolve a dispute between it and Transform as the reason for the Chapter 11 filing.
  • The company said it had between $10 million and $50 million in assets, but between $50 million and $100 million in liabilities.

The bottom line: The 2018 bankruptcy of Sears Holdings was years in the making, and it will likely take years more for this sad chapter in American retail to play out.

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