The iconic department store on North Shepherd Drive will remain open for business, at least for the time being.
Sears, which filed for bankruptcy Oct. 15, received a life ring Friday afternoon. According to a report by CNBC, Sears chairman Eddie Lampert narrowly met a deadline to avoid liquidation by submitting a $4.4 billion bid to buy the retailer through an affiliate of his hedge fund, ESL Investments.
Earlier Friday, Sears announced it was closing 80 stores – in addition to the 182 it said would be shuttered in October and November. The location at 4000 N Shepherd Dr., which opened in 1949, is not among the stores Sears has announced it will close.
“I’ve always found the prices very good when you want to get appliances and things like that,” said Sears customer Arlene Sims, who has been shopping at the Garden Oaks location since the 1970s.
Sears, a 125-year-old company with about 700 stores and more than 68,000 employees, had about 1,000 stores and 89,000 employees as recently as February. It is unclear how many employees work at the Garden Oaks location and whether the store is profitable.
Two managers on duty early Friday afternoon declined to comment or identify themselves, asking a reporter to leave the property. Sears’ corporate office did not respond to voice and electronic messages left later Friday.
According to the CNBC report, the bid by Lampert may not necessarily save Sears from liquidation. The company’s advisors have until Jan. 4 to decide whether ESL is a “qualified bidder.” Upon affirmation, ESL could take part in an auction against liquidation bids on Jan. 14.
The advisors would then weigh the value of Lampert’s bid against the liquidation offers.
So Sears, and its longstanding store in the area, could still close.
“It would be a real inconvenience, I think,” Sims said. “Then you’ve got to go into the mall or strip centers.”