A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge approved the sale of Sears to former chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert late last week, according to Bloomberg, accepting his $5.2 billion bid for the assets and keeping the company alive.
The approval prevents Sears from liquidating the rest of its stores. Lampert had originally offered to keep 425 stores open and prevent the loss of 50,000 jobs.
The bankruptcy judge rejected arguments from a group of creditors that the sale process was unfair, according to Bloomberg. Creditors argued that Lampert, who orchestrated the 2005 merger of Sears Roebuck and Kmart, failed to invest in its stores and stole the company’s assets.
The judge said these claims shouldn’t stand in the way of the sale and likely be decided in future lawsuits.
CNN reported that the “new” Sears will only have a fraction of its debt. The 425 stores that are part of the sale were profitable right up to the filing. Most of the stores that remain are in California, the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic region, Florida and Texas, all more affluent areas.
Sears said in bankruptcy court it expects to raise at least $650 million from real estate sales in the next three years, and put more of an emphasis on its “Shop Your Way” loyalty program. It also plans a smaller store format, about 12,500 square feet rather than the 160,000 square-foot locations found in malls, according to CNN.