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Sears, facing liquidation, says it will close 80 more stores

A Sears department is seen in Hackensack, N.J.,

A Sears department is seen in Hackensack, N.J., on Oct. 15, 2018. Credit: AP/Seth Wenig

Sears is closing 80 more stores as it teeters on the brink of liquidation.

None of the 80 stores is on Long Island, according to a list of the closing stores on the company's website.

The iconic retailer, once the nation's largest department store chain, set a deadline of Friday for bids for its remaining stores to avert closing down completely.

The retailer that began as a mail-order catalog business 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 that had 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 Corp., 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 hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert, Sears 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 chairman and biggest shareholder, Lampert loaned his own money and put together deals to keep the company afloat and to turn whatever profit he could for ESL hedge fund. Lampert and ESL have been trying to buy the rest of Sears for up to $4.6 billion in cash and stock.

But no official bid appeared to have emerged as of 4 p.m. E.T. Friday. Sears declined to comment.

On Oct. 15, the day it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Sears Holdings said that a Sears in Garden City would be among 77 Sears stores and 65 Kmarts closing near the end of the year as part of the bankruptcy filing.  The Sears in Garden City was still open on Friday.

In November, Sears Holdings said that a Kmart in Huntington would be among 40 stores closing in February.

After all the announced closings take place, Long Island will have three Sears stores — in Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, Sunrise Mall in Massapequa and Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream — and three Kmarts — in Bridgehampton, Farmingville and Bohemia. There are also two Sears Auto Centers, in Valley Stream and Massapequa. 

with Tory N. Parrish

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