Sears, once the largest retailer in the world, is closing hundreds of stores and reportedly planning to file for bankruptcy. Here's how it got there. (SHLD)

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  • Sears is expected to file for bankruptcy imminentlyNext Monday, it is due to pay back a $134 million debt to its lenders. 
  • The department-store chain has been losing money and closing stores for years. Many employees and analysts blame CEO Eddie Lampert for the retailer’s decline. 
  • These photos show how Sears went from being the largest and most prominent retailer in the United States to the struggling company that it is today. 

It appears that the end is nigh for embattled retailer Sears.

On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the company has hired advisors to help it prepare for a possible bankruptcy filing as early as this week. 

The department-store chain is due to pay back a $143 million debt to a group of lenders next Monday. According to The Journal, Sears‘ controversial CEO Eddie Lampert, who has come to the retailer’s rescue in the past with billions of dollars worth of loans through his hedge fund ESL Investments, is not bailing it out this time. However, according to Reuters, Lampert is considering a bid for some of the company’s businesses and real estate once it files for bankruptcy.

American consumers are now lamenting the loss of one of the country’s most famous retailers, which at one point was the world’s largest. Sears was widely considered to be an early innovator of the shopping landscape.

„There was a time when Sears was the Amazon of its day. Remarkably innovative, daring, diverse in strategy and deadly as a competitor,“ retail expert Doug Stephens wrote on Twitter on Wednesday morning.

Keep scrolling to see the story of its downfall in photos:

SEE ALSO: Decaying stores, plunging sales, and a remote CEO: How Sears was driven to the edge of bankruptcy

Sears started off as a mail-order catalog company selling watches and jewelry in 1888. It became the largest catalog company in the United States after expanding its assortment.

In the 1920s, as catalog shopping started to fade out, Sears adapted to the changing times and opened stores. According to Investopedia, sales at its stores outpaced catalog sales by 1931.

Source: Investopedia

The company grew from being only a retailer to offering financial services, including setting up an insurance arm with Allstate and acquiring various financial brokerage firms.

It also began rolling out its own brands such as Craftsman, DieHard, and Kenmore.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider

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