Sears Goes Bankrupt: Are ASX Retailers To Follow?

  • Oct 16, 2018 AEDT
  • Team Kalkine
Sears Goes Bankrupt: Are ASX Retailers To Follow?

A form of bankruptcy which involves reorganization of assets, debts and debtor’s business affairs is known as Chapter 11 form of bankruptcy. Following years of declining sales in the coming days, Sears Holdings is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection which is causing doubts of what the world’s largest retailer was once, is now questioned over the survival.

What would involve asset sales and a debt restructuring which is proposed by chief executive Eddie Lampert and formed by the company a special board committee to consider a rescue plan. Sears Canada folded one year ago laying off 12,000 workers and closing 150 stores. Over it being too favorable for Lampert, amid concerns that creditors and shareholders would sue the committee has been resisting the plan. 

One of the sources said that both the parties now accept that the company's future can be determined by only a court-supervised process. Added by the sources, for a bankruptcy filing that could come in the next few days, discussions are under way to arrange debtor-in-possession financing.

Sears has to meet on Monday, a $US134 million ($189.5 million) debt payment which has added pressure to find a resolution on both Lampert and the special committee.

A key player in almost every big mall across the United States, Sears sold everything from toys to mail-order homes and auto parts in the 1960s, during its peak. From companies such as Amazon.com, in the light of online competition, as well as Walmart which is a brick and mortar retailer and other retailers. After revenue failed to meet their expectations during last year's holiday season, Toys 'R' Us' creditors lost faith in the retailer.

Key to Sears remaining operational retaining the confidence of vendors, to see it through bankruptcy vendors will be looking to see if Sears can secure enough financing. Sears shares were down at 40.5 cents down by 31 percent, giving the company a market capitalization of just $US40 million and Sears borrowing was around $US 5 billion as at Aug 4, 2018.

Australian retailers are behind US Amazon and other retailers like eBay operating for many years now. This should bring to the attention of Australian retailers which could be following a similar path as Sears.

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