But it has struggled to reinvent itself in the face of online competition from companies such as Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), as well as from other brick-and-mortar retailers, including Walmart Inc(WMT.N).
"The journey to running a member-centric company on a consistently profitable basis has taken far longer than we expected", Lampert wrote in a lengthy blog post.More news: China is the key to beating climate change
Sears shares were down 31 percent at 40.5 cents in afternoon trading in NY, giving the company a market capitalization of just $40 million.
On Tuesday, Sears also brought in restructuring expert Alan Carr as a company director, broadening the six-person board to seven and adding further guidance on how to steer a large company through a bankruptcy filing. Even after several rounds of store closures across the country in recent years, the holding company still operates around 500 Sears stores and 360 Kmart stores.More news: William and Kate to attend mental health summit
Sears has hired advisers to prepare a possible bankruptcy filing that could come as early as this week, according to the Wall Street Journal. Neither Sears nor M-III Partners immediately returned requests for comment. Toys "R" Us' creditors lost faith in the retailer after revenue during last year's holiday season failed to meet their expectations. The stock, which traded above $100 a decade ago, has fallen to less than $1 in the past year. The retailer warned last month it may go out of business if the deals proposed by Lampert were not approved. The company has a total of about $5.6 billion in outstanding debt and is down to about 820 Sears and Kmart stores.
Hedge fund manager Edward Lampert, who serves as Sears' chairman, CEO, largest shareholder, and biggest creditor, announced an attempt at restructuring the company's debt on September 24. The 125-year-old retailer, based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, has relied on piecemeal deals and infusions from the hedge fund manager to offset billions of dollars in losses.More news: Hurricane Michael takes aim at Florida Panhandle, prompting evacuations
Sears and Kmart have lost more than $11 billion since 2011, and their annual sales have dropped almost 60 percent in that period to $16.7 billion, according to the report.
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