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Sears, the store that changed America, declares bankruptcy

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New York – Sears, the once-dominant retail chain that changed how Americans shopped and lived, has filed for bankruptcy.” CNN Business reported.

The 132-year-old company has been struggling for several years and is drowning in debt. The final straw was a $134 million debt payment due Monday that it could not afford.

Sears Holdings (SHLD), the parent company, which owns Sears and Kmart, is among dozens of prominent retailers to declare bankruptcy in the era of Amazon (AMZN).

The filing in federal bankruptcy court in New York came in the early hours of Monday morning. The company issued a statement saying it intends to stay in business, keeping stores that are profitable open, along with the Sears and Kmart online shopping sites.

But it said that it’s looking for a buyer for a large number of its remaining stores and that it will close at least 142 stores near the end of this year. That’s in addition to the 46 store closings already planned for next month.

Eddie Lampert, the company’s chairman and largest shareholder who engineered the merger of Sears and Kmart in 2005, gave up the title of CEO as part of the filing. The company will now be run by three of the company’s top executives.

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