Sears drops further on report of banks’ push for liquidation

Sears was being pummeled in early trading on a report that banks are pushing the 130-year-old retailer to liquidate.

The report Thursday in The Wall Street Journal comes one day after stock in Sears Holdings Corp. tumbled 30 percent.

Shares, which have fallen 86 percent this year, tumbled another 11 percent, to 44 cents, in morning trading. The company’s stock fell below $1 late last month, with few seeing a second act for the company that revolutionized how Americans shop.

Only a quarter of the 4,000 stores operating just six years ago still have the lights on and a significant debt repayment is looming. CEO and chairman Eddie Lampert, who owns 31 percent of outstanding shares, appears to be unwilling to extend another lifeline.

“The prognosis is gloomy, just as it has been for many years,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail.

Word that lenders are pushing for liquidation, Saunders said, is a sign that Sears is a company with no inherent value and is “broken operationally as well as financially.”

“At some point, the music has to stop,” Saunders said. “We believe that time is now.”

Sears is based outside Chicago in Hoffman Estates, Ill. It still employs 89,000 people.