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'It really has no effect on us'

Zoe Greszler • Oct 18, 2018 at 2:00 AM

The announcement that Sears Holdings Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection will not have effect on the local Sears location, a store manager said. 

Sears Holding Corp, parent of the Sears and Kmart retail chains, announced it plans to close 142 unprofitable stores near the end of the year, in addition to the 46 stores it had already identified.

The local Sears Hometown Store at 60 E. Main St., however, is safe from any of those negative repercussions according to store manager Manager Tiffany Graves. The store posted a bright pink poster to its entrance informing customers as much, since Sears Hometown and Outlet and Sears Holding are separate companies.

“We are here to serve you,” the poster read. 

“Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. is not part of the bankruptcy filing by Sears Holdings Corp.  Although we have business relationships with Sears Holdings, we are a publicly owned company that separated from Sears Holdings in 2012. We are a national retailer primarily focused on selling home appliances, lawn and garden equipment, tools and hardware. Our dealers are independent businesspeople who are actively involved in their businesses and their communities.”

Graves explained the companies parted ways and became “totally separate” in 2012, which came two years before Lands End also split from the mother company. 

“We split off from them a long time ago, so it really has no effect on us one way or the other,” she said.

“We’re two totally different entities. We’re Sears Hometown and Outlet Store and they’re Sears Holding Corp. So it’s two totally separate companies. We’re the smaller stores, opposed to the bigger brick-and-mortar stores. We sell basically the same thing, we just don’t sell clothes or jewelry.”

“It remains business as usual” for the local shop, as the poster said. 

The mother company, Sears Holding, has lost more than $11 billion since 2011. In the last two years alone, the company has closed more than 725 Sears and Kmart stores.

Shortly after the bankruptcy filing was made early Monday, the company said it has arranged $300 million in debtor-in-possession financing, which will allow it to continue operating the business and paying employees while it tries to restructure around a smaller group of stores.

The filing lists total assets as $6.937 billion and total debts as $11.339 billion as of Aug. 4.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lauren Zumbach from the Chicago Tribune (TNS) contributed to this story.

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