Sears prepares for possible liquidation as bid reportedly falls short

CHICAGO, Ill. (WLS) -- The future of Sears is still up in the air, but it appears the end could be near for the iconic Chicago retailer.

A reorganization plan is likely to fail, leading to liquidation.

That means people like Neil Salle are about to get really busy.

"There is so much to do plus there are fixtures. Everything has to go... You know if they sell the real estate everything else has to be completely gone," said Salle.

His company, Chicago Liquidation, along with others, could soon be adding to its collection of refrigerators, dishwashers and really anything else Sears owns as the 125-year old retailer faces the music of modern retailing.

"Things have changed after Amazon, the whole dynamics of business, their shipping," Salle said. "With Sears they didn't keep up... I walked into Sears a year and a half ago and it look like they're going out of business back then."

The retailer's long slow decline has left its Chicago area stores bereft of even signage. According to published reports, Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert's attempt Friday to have his hedge fund take over hundreds of supposedly more successful stores and save 50,000 of the chain's 68,000 jobs nationwide did not meet broader creditor approval, and the company is now left with just one option: liquidation.

"The American people love to buy deals, anything that is a liquidation or a surplus... They love that because it's a deal," said Salle.

The anchor store of the Louis Joliet Mall closed for good yesterday. As workers remove the last of the fixtures, a possible destination is Salle's 118-thousand square foot warehouse in nearby Rockdale.

Liquidation keeps the economic ball of Sears rolling in sense, according to the entrepreneur, because creditors will be happy to get pennies on the dollar for the merchandise he buys - and then flips.

Sears has over $11-billion in debt. There's another hearing Tuesday in New York where Lampert is expected to offer last minute improvements to his bid - and maybe something altogether different, like buying some of Sears' real estate and intellectual property in exchange for the what the company owes him. Spokesmen for Sears and hedge fund declined to comment. And if it dies, Sears bankruptcy would be the second biggest ever in the retail industry, just ahead of last year's demise of Toys "R" Us.

Workers removed the Sears signage in Joliet, Ill.

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