Sears pitches its future to lenders as it eyes bankruptcy

Eddie Lampert is once again trying to sell the idea that he can transform Sears.

Sears Holdings‘ CEO is meeting with lenders as he pitches his vision for what the retailer would look like emerging from bankruptcy. Part of the plan involves it slimming even further beyond its years of store closures, people familiar tell CNBC. He needs lenders to support his vision in order for an orderly bankruptcy, in which the company files for protection with a business plan that all parties, including its lenders, agree to.

But Sears last profitable year was in 2010, offering little reassurance in his ability to turn the retailer around. It needs vendors’ support through the holidays, and many of them have already stopped shipping.

If Sears cannot get its lenders on board, it may be forced to file for bankruptcy without a plan, or, even more dramatic, to liquidate its business.

One idea that Lampert is pitching is a bid for its Kenmore appliances brand and home services business, in addition to real estate, once it files, rather than a traditional court-supervised restructuring, Reuters reported Thursday.

Negotiations are ongoing, say people familiar with the talks. The banks have not yet decided which option to push, two people said. Lenders are evaluating both liquidation and keeping Sears alive after a filing, one of the people said. Such talks include a number of factors, including how Sears would use its remaining collateral, like its real estate and Kenmore brand, to offer debtors protection.

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