Sears Declared Bankruptcy. Now What?

Even if your local Sears isn't on the chopping block, you should use any SYWR credits you've been saving.
Sears store closing

Sears has been struggling, closing hundreds of stores in recent years. Now Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears and Kmart, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced more store closures.

What does this mean for Sears customers? Read on to see how the bankruptcy will affect Shop Your Way Rewards members, gift cards, and warranties.

How Many Sears Stores Are Closing?

With the news of the bankruptcy, Sears has announced an additional 142 stores will be closed by the end of 2018. These locations join the 46 stores Sears had already slated for closure in August. While Toys"R"Us tried to carry on with regular sales after declaring bankruptcy in 2017, Sears says liquidation sales will begin soon.

While Toys"R"Us carried on with regular sales after declaring bankruptcy in 2017, Sears says liquidation sales will begin soon.

That might sound like the perfect chance to score a bargain, but items sold at liquidation sales may have inflated prices. Products are also usually sold as-is — which means they could be defective or have cosmetic damage.

Which Sears stores are closing? Check out the complete list to see if yours is among the unlucky ones.

It's Business as Usual... for Now

It's not exactly surprising that the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but Sears and Kmart won't disappear overnight. Sears Holdings is reportedly looking for a buyer for many of the remaining retail locations. The goal is to come to a restructuring agreement that will rescue Sears and keep it afloat.

SEE ALSO: Thanksgiving & Black Friday 2018 Store Hours: Know When to Go!

We've seen this before, though. Remember when Toys"R"US filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a year ago? The toy chain carried on through the 2017 holiday season, but closed all of its stores in early 2018.

What Should Sears and Kmart Shoppers Do?

For now, Sears said shoppers should expect programs like Shop Your Way Rewards to continue. As of this writing, the company says it's still honoring warranties, protection agreements, and guarantees, as well. The key word here is "currently," though.

Last year when Sears closed its Canada stores, it stopped honoring extended warranties. Additionally, protection agreements could be refunded — but only if they'd been purchased within 30 days of the liquidation announcement.

You should use any remaining Shop Your Way Rewards credits or store gift cards as soon as possible.

Because the future is uncertain for both Sears and Kmart, you should use any remaining Shop Your Way Rewards credits or store gift cards as soon as possible. The fine print of the SYWR program states it can "change at any time... without notice," so there's no indication of how long the program will remain in place.

Additionally, stores that have filed for bankruptcy technically don't have to honor gift cards, so if you have them it's better to spend them now.

Disclosure: DealNews has decided not to list Sears and Kmart deals for now, as their unclear financial future is leaving many affiliates (including us) in the dark.

What Does the Future Hold?

Even if you don't see your local store on the list of closings, you shouldn't feel too comfortable.

How many Sears stores are left? As of this writing, that number is just over 500, while Kmart has around 360 still open. However, the company has warned that more stores could end up on the chopping block. And if a restructuring agreement can't be reached, any stores that are left will undoubtedly close.

Readers, will you shop the Sears or Kmart liquidation sales? Do you think the chain is finally dead, or will it come back? Let us know in the comments below!

Julie Ramhold
Senior Staff Writer/Consumer Analyst

Julie's work has been featured on CNBC, GoBankingRates, Kiplinger, Marketwatch, Money, The New York Times, Real Simple, US News, WaPo, WSJ, Yahoo!, and more. She's extolled the virtues of DealNews in interviews with Cheddar TV, GMA, various podcasts, and affiliates across the United States, plus one in Canada.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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Screw sears. I remember back in 1988 when I applied for a credit card and they said no way. Then 10 years later when business starts going down hill I start getting letters begging me to sign up. Don't think so!
I had a $100 Sears Gift Card since a while. After this news, I checked the balance and it is showing 0 balance. I don't know what to do about this now. There is no place to see any transaction history for a gift card.
"you should use any remaining Shop Your Way Rewards credits or store gift cards as soon as possible. " that should help to push them further into dinosaur status...
Yikes... thanks for the heads-up. I just emptied my SYWR points this weekend, just in case. Like I said... their website sucks. Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if some sort of glitch lost your points. Maybe they'll come back randomly too =P

Sears chat can't do anything for me. They recommended I contact the rewards team about this:

The toll free number for our Shop Your
Way Rewards Department is 1-800-991-8708.
Hours of operation : 8:00 AM - 11:00 PM (CST) 7 days a week.
Uh, oh!

I just lost SYWR points overnight, without any having reached their expiry date.

Yesterday: ~57 ($25 [of these points] will expire on 11/2/18)

Today: $29.74 ($29.74 [of these point] will expire on 12/31/19)

Sears chat: they're asking me which orders should have given me these points. As some of you know, the points populated don't tell you which purchase they came from. All we can do is track the terms and ensure that points populate approximately when they're supposed to; otherwise, you're just going on faith that Sears will, in fact, give you your due points.

Note: I haven't returned anything recently (months), and the last thing I returned I purchased WITH points.

I also haven't used points in the past week.


This doesn't bode well.


I've taken advantage of quite a few of their spend $X, get $X back. As you say, even if they go under (or my local Sears closes), I feel like I've done OK. If I can use my points through the rest of the year, I'll feel very good about the gamble I took.

Besides, it's not as if the things I purchased from Sears were substantially more expensive than anywhere else. Case-in-point: I purchased a Craftsman 28" dual-blade mower for just under $700; I earned $400 in points. For my new, larger yard I needed a bigger mower to replace the small, free one we got from family.

Larger mowers are rare. The only other consumer-grade mower has a 30" deck and costs a grand.
It was evident that this was impending. It's no surprise that Sears hasn't been doing well. Their website seems to be falling apart more and more. Nonetheless, I've still been taking advantage of the sales to receive free SYWR points spread out over a period. Just the other day I spent $78 in SYWR points and got a bonus $75 in SYWR points. I'm not counting on being able to use all of them, but generally the deals are good enough that in a month or two the item will have been a solid deal. Where I would be most worried would be with appliances and warranties. Extended warranties aren't usually worth the dough, but I also wouldn't want to buy a Kenmore fridge from them with such an uncertain future.
Post the deals so those of us with Gift Cards and points (which we probably got due to Dealnews recommendations) can use them up without being ripped off.
For all you craftsman tool people,Exchange all your broken tools as soon as you can !!!!!
JSMITHRULZ, Our Sears store closed here in State College, PA. The auto center remained open and is still open. Not sure how that works....
I hope they don't all close. I recently bought tires and 1-year alignment from them. :(
It is a shame to see them go. No other store has the variety they have. Letting go of the craftsman name left them with only the Kenmore name as a potential selling point. I don't see anyone taking over so much dept for what is left. DEALNEWS should still post their deals with a disclaimer. Dealnews has disclaimers all the time on posts so this is really no different. Buyer beware! You still post stuff from companies like That Daily Deal that has NUMEROUS complaints filed.