CHICAGO (CBS)—One of the best-known names in American retail may soon become a chapter in history.
Hoffman Estates-based Sears and discount retailer Kmart could join the growing list of now-defunct American retailers like Toys R’ Us that have been overtaken by digital competition like Amazon.
The fate of Sears hangs in bankruptcy court Tuesday morning, as Sears Holdings is expected to decide whether to accept a controversial offer from chairman and former CEO Eddie Lampert. He made an acquisition offer from his hedge fund, ESL Investments, that would keep more than 400 stores open and offer jobs to 50,000 employees currently employed by the company.
In New York today, Sears officials are expected to ask a bankruptcy judge to allow them to liquidate the assets of the 126-year-old business.
The looming shut down comes after company officials rejected a $4.4 billion bid from Lampert to bring the company out of bankruptcy.
If Sears closes, 68,000 workers could lose their jobs. The retailer—known for its thick catalogs and large electronics selection—had more than 3,500 stores open during its heyday.
At North Riverside Park Mall on Tuesday morning, Sears customers reacted to news that the retailer’s days could be numbered.
Sears customer Jenetta Phipps said she bought her refrigerator at Sears 22 years ago, and it’s still running.
“I hope they would keep it open because Sears is a good store,” Phipps said. “I been shopping in Sears for about 45 years and their products are good.”
Another shopper, Eva Camarena, said Sears is her go-to department store for appliances.
“(I’m) really sad because it’s a good store,” Camarena said. “I’m sad because I don’t like to see people without a job.”
Sears Holdings did not immediately return CBS 2’s request for comment Tuesday.