NEW YORK (CBS News) – Sears is closing 80 more stores as it teeters on the brink of liquidation through a bankruptcy court. The 130-year old retailer had set a deadline of Friday for bids for its remaining stores to avert closing down completely. The only apparent bidder: Sears Holdings Corp.’s current chairman, the hedge fund investor Edward S. Lampert, CNBC reported, citing anonymous sources.

It’s not clear if Lampert can save the day. The once-mighty retailer that began as a mail-order catalog in the 1880s has been in a slow death spiral, hobbled by the Great Recession and then overwhelmed by rivals both down the street and across the internet.

The 80 stores are due to close by March. That’s in addition to 182 stores already slated for closure, including 142 by the end of 2108 and 40 by February. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October , saying at the time it would close more than 20 percent of all stores, keeping open only its 500 most profitable locations.

Sears Holdings, which also runs Kmart, joins the list of retail brands taken over by hedge funds that collapsed under the weight of debt forced upon them. Under Lampert, Sears Holdings has bought time by spinning off stores and putting on the block the brands that had grown synonymous with the company, such as Craftsman.

The company’s biggest shareholder, Lampert loaned out his own money and put together deals to keep the company afloat and to turn whatever profit he could for his ESL Investments hedge fund. Lampert and ESL have been trying to buy the rest of Sears for up to $4.6 billion in cash and stock, a move ESL claimed could save 50,000 jobs.

If the Lambert bid that CNBC cited Friday has been submitted, Sears’ bankruptcy advisers would have until Jan. 4 to decide whether the new bid from Mr. Lampert qualifies. If they approve, Lampert could then participate in a scheduled Jan. 14 liquidation bid auction, according to Yahoo News and court filings.

Retail industry analyst Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, was highly pessimistic Friday about the chances for success. “It looks increasingly likely that Sears will fall into liquidation,” Saunders stated. “In our view, the lack of bids and the difficulties Eddie Lampert i[appears to be] having in raising finance for his own offer reflects the fact that Sears is essentially worthless. Not only is the business deeply unprofitable, but it also suffers from a tarnished brand and the lack of a clear proposition. This means any purchaser would need to undertake both severe financial engineering as well as brand reinvention — a costly and risky process with little guarantee of success.”

The retail analyst was particularly dismissive of Lampert’s attempts to turn around Sears when he was CEO of the company before the October bankruptcy filing: “Sears has attempted to shrink its way to success by closing stores. While closure sales have helped to temporarily boost [traffic] and revenue at some shops, they have done nothing to put the firm on a sound footing. Nor have the efforts improved perceptions. Our data from the holiday period show that overall customer usage of both Sears and Kmart has fallen, and perceptions of both brands are down on last year’s low scores. In our opinion, this is a brand now at rock bottom.”

Without Lampert’s ESL buying the company as a whole, liquidators are likely to split up the company. More stores than previously planned could still be shut, sold or demolished.

Ultimately, Saunders observed, “we do not preclude the brand assets being purchased during liquidation, with the Sears name perhaps surviving as an online-only entity. Such an outcome would be a dispiriting end to a once iconic retailer. However, over many years, a string of incredibly poor management decisions put Sears on a path to failure, making liquidation the most likely outcome of the bankruptcy process which began back in October.”

The company notified employees it plans to shut the 80 additional stores by March, according to the following statement: “As part of Sears Holdings’ processes to accelerate its strategic transformation and facilitate its financial restructuring, on December 27, 2018, the company informed associates at 80 stores that we will be closing these Sears and Kmart stores in late March 2019. Liquidation sales at these stores are expected to begin in two weeks.”

Is my local Sears store closing?

Here is the list of the store closings announced Friday. Asterisks note Sears stores where the accompanying Sears Auto Center at the Sears store will also be closing:

  • Kmart 7055 East Broadway Tucson AZ
  • Kmart 2180 E Mariposa Rd Stockton CA
  • Kmart 20777 Bear Valley Rd Apple Valley CA
  • Kmart 1000 San Fernando Rd Burbank CA
  • Kmart 2875 Santa Maria Way Santa Maria CA
  • Kmart 2505 Bell Rd Auburn CA
  • Kmart 295 Hartford Turnpike Vernon CT
  • Kmart 200 Irwin Ne Fort Walton Beach FL
  • Kmart 6126 Hwy 301 Ellenton FL
  • Kmart 11 Sherwood Square Peru IN
  • Kmart 2940 Veterans Blvd Metairie LA
  • Kmart 8980 Waltham Woods Rd Baltimore MD
  • Kmart 201 Ninth St S E Rochester MN
  • Kmart 155 Twin City Mall Crystal City MO
  • Kmart 12057 Highway 49 Delmar Plaza Gulfport MS
  • Kmart 980 Brevard Rd Asheville NC
  • Kmart 110 112 Bost Rd Morganton NC
  • Kmart 4841 Arendell St Morehead City NC
  • Kmart 1900 S Washington St Grand Forks ND
  • Kmart 1515 W 3Rd Alliance NE
  • Kmart 213 Highway 37 E Toms River NJ
  • Kmart 1705 S Main St Roswell NM
  • Kmart 308 Dix Avenue Queensbury NY
  • Kmart 1020 Center Street Grand Central Plaza Horseheads NY
  • Kmart 121 Bolivar Road Wellsville NY
  • Kmart 1251 State Rte 29 Ste 1O Greenwich Plaza Greenwich NY
  • Kmart 7701 Broadview Road Cleveland OH
  • Kmart 620 Plaza Dr Fostoria OH
  • Kmart 400 N East Circle Blvd Corvallis OR
  • Kmart 996 West View Park Drive Pittsburgh PA
  • Kmart 2873 W 26Th Street Erie PA
  • Kmart 1143 Broad St Sumter SC
  • Kmart 1111 E North St Rapid City SD
  • Kmart 1805 E Stone Dr Kingsport TN
  • Kmart 217 Forks Of River Pkwy Sevierville TN
  • Kmart 4110 E Sprague Ave Spokane WA
  • Kmart 1450 Summit Avenue Oconomowoc WI
  • Sears* 2050 Southgate Rd Colorado Spgs CO
  • Sears* 1650 Briargate Blvd Colorado Spgs CO
  • Sears* 3201 Dillon Dr Pueblo CO
  • Sears 1700 W Intl Speedway Blvd Daytona Beach FL
  • Sears* 1500 Apalachee Pkwy Tallahassee FL
  • Sears* 347 Westshore Plz Tampa FL
  • Sears* 1441 Tamiami Trl Pt Charlotte FL
  • Sears* 9409 Us Highway 19 N Ste 101 Port Richey FL
  • Sears* 150 Pearl Nix Pkwy Gainesville GA
  • Sears* 4480 Sergeant Rd Sioux City IA
  • Sears 235 Saint Clair Sq Fairview Hts IL
  • Sears* 7200 Harrison Ave Cherry Valley IL
  • Sears* 7700 E Kellogg Dr Wichita KS
  • Sears 4400 Veterans Mem Blvd Metairie LA
  • Sears* 2306 N Salisbury Blvd Salisbury MD
  • Sears* 5500 Harvey St Muskegon MI
  • Sears 27600 Novi Rd Novi MI
  • Sears 2000 N E Court Bloomington MN
  • Sears* 1620 Guess Rd Durham NC
  • Sears* The Streets Of Southpoint Durham NC
  • Sears* 7424 Dodge St Omaha NE
  • Sears* 6400 O St Lincoln NE
  • Sears* 3450 S Maryland Pkwy Las Vegas NV
  • Sears* 10 Miracle Mile Dr Rochester NY
  • Sears 5053 Tuttle Crossing Blvd Columbus OH
  • Sears* 1400 Polaris Pkwy Columbus OH
  • Sears* 1475 Upper Valley Pike Springfield OH
  • Sears* 501 Medford Ctr Medford OR
  • Sears* 200 Park City Ctr Lancaster PA
  • Sears* 5256 Route 30 Greensburg PA
  • Sears* 5580 Goods Lane Ste 1005 Altoona PA
  • Sears 1000 Rivergate Pkwy Goodlettsvlle TN
  • Sears 2021 N Highland Ave Jackson TN
  • Sears* 201 S Plano Rd Richardson TX
  • Sears* 4310 Buffalo Gap Rd Abilene TX
  • Sears* 851 N Central Expwy Plano TX
  • Sears* 6001 W Waco Dr Waco TX
  • Sears* 7701 1-40 W Ste 400 Amarillo TX
  • Sears* 2100 S W S Young Dr Killeen TX
  • Sears 3100 Highway 365 Port Arthur TX
  • Sears* 1531 Rio Rd E Charlottesville VA
  • Sears* 1321 N Columbia Center Blvd Suite 455 Kennewick WA
  • Sears 4301 W Wisconsin Ave Appleton WI

* Sears Auto Center closing, late January

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

[H/T CBS News]

Comments (3)
  1. So, the “most profitable” 505 is now the “most profitable” 425? What next, the “most profitable” 350? See what’s happening here? They’re clearly not the most profitable if they continue to shrink!

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