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.
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.
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.
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!