Sears staves off liquidation, stores to remain open

NEW YORK (WLS) -- Sears will live on - at least for now.

Sears has been dying a slow death for years: the stores have shrunk and its parking lots are half empty. It appeared the once-king of retailers was finally done when the company filed for bankruptcy in October.

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The iconic Sears is on life support. Both Sears and its Kmart stores are struggling to stay open, facing potential liquidation.

But, with an infusion of $5 billion, Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert has decided to save the 132-year-old department store, which is good news for some loyal customers in the Chicago area.

"I think they have good clothes, I think they have good prices, I've been going here forever so, yes, I'm glad they are staying in business," shopper Naomi Hansa said.

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Sears is proposing to stay in business by closing almost half of their stores and keeping 50,000 employees. But why the Sears chairman wants to keep Sears alive baffles retails experts.

"Perhaps its ego driven, he doesn't want to be at the helm when the company actually goes under, so he tries to find new ways to keep the company in business," said David Weiss, of McMillan Doolittle.

At this point, there is not much left of Sears. Its well-known brands like Craftsman and Kenmore have been sold off, and so has the real estate. Experts say it's been years since the retailer focused on the customer.

"We don't know what services it provides for a consumer anymore, there are so many other places a consumer can go to get similar goods," Weiss said.

While some existing stores have been redone, even some loyal customers say the company has a long way to go to revive business.

"It's not always easy to find things in these knocked down Sears stores," customer Jerry McCarthy said.

While Sears is saved for now, customers and experts doubt it will last.
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