Sears is making more moves to stave off a bankruptcy filing as it closes more stores. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Sears considers restructure without filing for bankruptcy

Sears is making bigger moves to stave off filing for bankruptcy as it fights to return to profitability.

In the newest move, CEO Eddie Lampert’s hedge fund ESL Investments has submitted a proposal that would restructure the company the company without filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It would reduce debt about 80 percent from $5.6 billion.

The report cites Sears closing unprofitable stores, selling properties, seeking partners and reducing operating expenses as moves toward returning to profitability.

But the proposal also shows that the company’s transformation has taken longer than expected, and it’s now facing constraints as it nears a $134 million loan payment Oct. 15.

“We continue to believe that it is in the best interests of all stakeholders to accomplish this as a going concern, rather than alternatives that would substantially reduce, if not completely eliminate, value for stakeholders,” the proposal said.

The proposal also asks Sears to sell $1.5 billion of real estate and about $1.75 billion in other assets, including Sears Kenmore appliance brand, which ESL has previously expressed interest in buying.

Sears recently announced 46 closures of “unprofitable” stores, including the store at the Dayton Mall, which will close in November. It also recently announced it would close the Mall at Fairfield Commons store in December. There is still a Sears store in Springfield.

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