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Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Sears filed for bankruptcy this week, and its owner, Eddie Lampert, is warning employees that absent "material progress over the next few months," the fate of the company is going to be "a shutdown and liquidation."

The bottom line: There are good bankruptcies, which discharge legacy debts and allow the company to continue anew. And then there are bad bankruptcies, which cut off supply chains and result in outright liquidation. Bad bankruptcies inevitably result in thousands of job losses — and Sears is looking like it's going to be one of them.

The big picture: Sears hasn't made any visible "material progress" since Lampert took control of the company in 2005. The chances of it doing so now are slim.

  • Lampert is a master of financial engineering, but the way that this bankruptcy plays out is now largely out of his control.
  • Sears could easily go the way of Toys "R" Us: An outright liquidation, with tens of thousands of employees losing their jobs.

Worryingly, there are many other companies which are worth very little on the stock market but which have thousands of employees relying on them to make payroll every month.

  • JC Penney, another troubled retailer, has 98,000 employees and a market value of just $5,600 per employee. Pier 1 is worth only $7,000 per employee.
  • Netflix, by contrast, has a market capitalization of some $27 million per employee, with a workforce of 5,500.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

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Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Tiger Woods underwent emergency surgery to repair damage to his right leg and ankle, after he was involved in a single-vehicle accident on Tuesday in which his SUV ran off the road.

What we know: The golf star "is currently awake, responsive and recovering in his hospital room" at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, according to a late-night statement from his team.

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Capitol repairs, security top $30M since Jan. 6 attacks

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The Architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton on Wednesday said that repairs and security expenses related to the Jan. 6 insurrection have already cost more than $30 million.

The state of play: Congressional appropriations committees have allocated the $30 million for repairs and perimeter fencing around the Capitol building through March 31, per NPR.