[Updated Wednesday, January 9,2019| 6:00 a.m.] Tuesday saw the future of the iconic Sears department store at Hastings Ranch Plaza darken then brighten somewhat as its parent company first asked a court for permission to liquidate then announced midday it had agreed to consider a revised bid for a buyout and would continue to operate stores normally for now.
The buyout bid is coming from Sears Chairman Edward Lampert. Sears Holding Company rejected Lampert’s original offer but gave him time to submit a new bid during Tuesday hearings before Judge Robert Drain sitting in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
Lampert must post a $120 million deposit by 4 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) Wednesday to keep his bid alive, according to multiple media sources.
Failing that, liquidation would likely mean the sell-off of approximately 500 stores including the venerable retail institution at 3801 East Foothill Blvd. The East Pasadena store has been a prominent presence since it opened its doors in 1958.
“Wow. That would not be a good outcome, if only because it would be very difficult to find another tenant for that space,” said Pasadena Chamber of Commerce President Paul Little.
He observed that Sears is a good company with reputable product and knowledgeable sales force, but was unable to adjust and survive. Little estimated there are some 200 employees at the local Sears outlet.
“It’s a challenge that every bricks-and-mortar space is facing in the age of online purchasing and free next day delivery,” said Little. “So it’s going to be curious to see, if that store closes, what the space might be used for. It’s a valuable piece of real estate.”