Sumter's Kmart to close in March

Liquidation Alarm: Sears May Have Only 24 Hours Left

He said his plan would retain the jobs of 50,000 of the 68,000 workers employed by Sears at the time of the bankruptcy filing.

If he fails to submit the bid or qualify, Sears and Kmart, which ESL purchased in 2002, would begin the liquidation process as laid out by the bankruptcy court, a process which would take weeks.

Also, the Sears at Westmoreland Mall on Route 30, just outside of Greensburg, will shut its doors as well.

Lampert persuaded three lenders to finance the $4.4 billion offer, according to a statement from ESL Investments.

A manager at the Kmart in Fostoria declined to answer questions, such as how many people are employed at the store.

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The bankrupt company set 4 pm ET Friday as the deadline for potential buyers to bid for Sears' assets.

The closures announced Friday are in addition to more than 180 that were previously announced by Sears. The hedge-fund investor pushed Kmart, which he'd bought out of bankruptcy two years earlier, to acquire Sears for $11 billion and then merged the two. The company says it has announced the latest round of closings as part of a financial restructuring.

The Associated Press reports the 80 stores are due to close by March.

The court will choose the bid that recovers as much of the money Sears owes its lenders and vendors as possible, whether that means shutting the business down immediately or giving Sears more runway to restructure, Barbarosh said.

While Lampert has said he intends to make the bid, he has not formally filed one with the bankruptcy court. Earlier this month, he said he meant to offer $4.6 billion for the stores and assets.

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