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With few seeing second act for Sears, company shares routed

FILE - In this July 21, 2018 file photo the outdoor sign stands in the parking lot of a Sears department store in Saint Paul, Minn. Shares of Sears Holdings continue falling, Thursday, Oct. 11, as the former retail behemoth moves closer to possibly joining a growing list of competitors that have filed for bankruptcy. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the company is being pushed by a group of lenders to liquidate assets instead of reorganizing the business. The report comes a day after the company shed 30 percent of its already diminished stock value. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Sears is being pummeled before the opening bell on a report that banks are pushing the 130-year-old retailer to liquidate.

The report Thursday in The Wall Street Journal comes one day after stock in Sears Holdings Corp. tumbled 30 percent.

Shares, which have fallen 86 percent this year, tumbled another 15 percent in premarket trading. The company's stock fell below $1 this month with few seeing a second act for the company that revolutionized how American shop.

Only a quarter of the 4,000 stores operating just six years ago still have the lights on and a significant debt repayment is looming. CEO and chairman Eddie Lampert, who owns 31 percent of outstanding shares, appears to be unwilling to extend another lifeline.

"The prognosis is gloomy, just as it has been for many years," said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail.

Word that lenders are pushing for liquidation, Saunders said, is a sign that Sears is a company with no inherent value and is "broken operationally as well as financially."

"At some point, the music has to stop," Saunders said. "We believe that time is now."

Sears is based outside of Chicago in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. It still employs 89,000 people.