Sears to close store at Fox River Mall

Sears has 24 hours to be saved

Local Kmart among 80 Sears and Kmart stores to close

Store employees were notified of the closings on Thursday, the company said.

The announcement came on the same day Sears faced a deadline to find a seller for the company as part of its bankruptcy.

This is the closest that Sears has come to shuttering its doors for good as it now weights closing 50 to 80 more stores, CNBC reported.

Sears associates were told December 27 and liquidation sales are expected to begin in two weeks. Sears has also been soliciting liquidation bids that would mean shutting hundreds of Sears and Kmart stores, and throwing more than 50,000 people out of work. It closed 142 unprofitable stores at the same time, and then in November announced the closure of 40 additional stores, according to the news outlet.

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

Sears chairman Eddie Lampert proposed to buy out the company as a whole through his hedge fund, ESL Investments, for $4.6 billion.

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Representatives for Sears, based in Hoffman Estates, and for Bank of America declined to comment.

Lampert had a plan to save Sears by combining it with Kmart, which ESL bought out of bankruptcy after the discount store's 2002 bankruptcy filing.

If Lampert does submit a bid, Sears's advisers have until January 4 to decide if he's a "qualified bidder".

As recently as 2012 the company operated 4,000 Sears and Kmart stores.

The rules give Sears flexibility to extend the deadline or make other changes that might promote more bids.

Bankrupt department store chain Sears is nearing the end of a self-imposed deadline for its survival, as today is the last opportunity for potential buyers to bid on its assets.

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