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US retailer Sears files for bankruptcy

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The shopfront of a Sears store

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US retailer Sears, a brand that once dominated shopping malls in the country, has filed for bankruptcy.

Sears Holdings – which also owns Kmart – filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday.

The company has suffered, along with many other traditional retailers, from rising online competition from firms such as Amazon.

Sears has been closing stores and selling properties as it grapples with a debt load of more than $5bn.

The company has 90,000 employees and in its heyday owned over three thousand stores.

It became America’s largest retailer before being overtaken by Walmart in the 1980s.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection postpones a US company’s obligations to its creditors, giving it time to reorganise its debts or sell parts of the business.

Businessman Eddie Lampert – who serves as the company’s chief executive, biggest investor, landlord and significant creditor – had attempted to restructure the firm’s debt to avoid bankruptcy.

In a statement, Edward Lampert, chairman of Sears Holdings, said: “Over the last several years, we have worked hard to transform our business and unlock the value of our assets.

“While we have made progress, the plan has yet to deliver the results we have desired.”

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