Those stores are owned by Seritage Growth Properties, a publicly traded real estate investment trust formed in 2015 from 235 properties and more than 30 joint venture interests from Sears. It leased the properties back to Sears for the chain’s Sears and Kmart branded stores.
It’s not clear what will happen to stores that are open but not on the sale list. Sears and Lazard, the firm handling the auction, didn’t respond to a request for comment. Seritage also hasn’t responded. Two years ago, grocer WinCo Foods was interested in the Irving Mall location, but that deal fell through.
The bankruptcy filing also doesn’t indicate which stores are leased or owned. For example, Richardson Square is a leased store owned by Dallas-based ATRCorinth. Sears sold it a year ago when it was trying to unload $1 billion worth of real estate.
Other Sears stores not on the list are Austin-area stores in Barton Creek, Hancock Center and Round Rock. The rest are in College Station, Harlingen, Houston’s Memorial City, Lubbock and Ingram Park in San Antonio.
CEO Eddie Lampert and his ESL hedge fund are expected to be the stalking horse bid, which in addition to making an offer for the company keeps others from making a low-ball offer. The sale process has several deadlines and hearings scheduled into early next year and probably will include bidders who would sell the stores and liquidate, according to a letter from Lazard.
Sears has already received bankruptcy court approval to close 190 stores, including locations in Longview, Baytown, El Paso (Sunland Park Mall), Tyler and Victoria. The company, based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., filed for bankruptcy reorganization in October after years of struggling with losses and declining sales.
Sears, which traces its roots to 1886, has been closing stores for years. Before the bankruptcy filing, it closed stores this summer in Fort Worth’s Ridgmar Mall, Denton’s Golden Triangle Mall and Lewisville’s Music City Mall, formerly Vista Ridge Mall, which was bought by California-based Korean grocer Zion Market.
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