Two local Sears stores to close

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According to a release by Sears Holdings, the company plans to close 80 Sears and Kmarts around the country in March, in an attempt to "accelerate its strategic transformation and facilitate its financial restructuring".

ESL Holdings said in a regulatory filing Thursday that its nonbinding offer for the roughly 500 remaining Sears stores will keep about 50,000 employees working.

Workers were told this week that liquidation sales are expected to start at the affected locations in two weeks, CNBC reports.

Sears has been one of the four anchors at the Mall of America since it opened in August 1992. The Wicomico County Sears' auto center is scheduled to close in January. Over the last two years, J.C. Penney has been forced to close over a hundred stores nationwide. As part of the deal, ESL would also forgive $1.8 billion of debt that the retailer owes the hedge fund.

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A hedge fund controlled by Sears chairman Eddie Lampert is offering $4.6 billion. The closures will affect both Sears and Kmart stores.

The company also operates Hometown Stores in Mexia and Temple. He was invested millions into Sears with the help of ESL as he worked to try to keep the Sears alive, including a loyalty program for customers with "Shop Your Way", CNBC said.

It's unusual to see ESL's bid come down to the wire, since Lampert "knows the business better than anyone", said Craig Barbarosh, a partner at law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman who is not involved with the Sears case. If he cannot complete the bid, Sears could try to push back the deadline or go ahead with creditors' demands to begin shutting down the business.