Death Of An Icon: A Day Of Reckoning Has Finally Arrived For One Of America’s Most Important Institutions

After 125 years, it is time to say goodbye. At one time, Sears was the largest retailer that the world had ever seen by a very wide margin, and it was a shining representation of America’s seemingly endless prosperity. But now the end has come, and Sears will be liquidated.

Oh sure, things could have been very different if they had been managed better, hadn’t gone into so much debt and had aggressively pursued online shoppers before Amazon became such a big threat.

Back in the late 1990's, Jeff Bezos was running Amazon.com out of his garage in Bellevue, Washington and Sears could have crushed him if they had aggressively moved into Internet commerce at that time. After all, Sears originally made a name for themselves as America’s first great mail order company.They should have seen the potential of Internet commerce, but they didn’t, and now the game is over for them.

For years I have been warning my readers that Sears was “going to zero”, and there were some that criticized me for saying that.

But in the end, it turned out to be true.

At one point Sears had accumulated over 10 billion dollars in debt, and it supposedly still has over a billion dollars in assets, but I am quite skeptical of that number. But even if that number is accurate, that means that most creditors will probably only receive a fraction of what they are owed.

On Thursday, there was still a sliver of hope that a last minute proposal to save the company could be pulled togther

Sears, the 125-year-old icon, has 24 hours to survive.

The employer of more than 68,000 filed for bankruptcy in October. Its last shot at survival is a $4.6 billion proposal put forward by its chairman, Eddie Lampert, to buy the company out of bankruptcy through his hedge fund, ESL Investments. ESL is the only party offering to buy Sears as a whole, people familiar with the situation tell CNBC. Without that bid or another like it, liquidators will break the company up into pieces.

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