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Sears asks to pay executive bonuses despite bankruptcy

Thomas Barrabi

Struggling retailer Sears Holding Corp. this month asked a court to approve millions of dollars in bonuses to 18 company executives despite ongoing bankruptcy proceedings that led to the closures of dozens of store locations.

The company wants to pay a total of $8.5 million in bonuses to the executives as well as a further $16.9 million in retention bonuses to 322 other high-level employees, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. If approved, the payments would be dispersed over the company’s next two fiscal quarters.

Sears’ chief financial officer and chief digital officer are among the executives who would receive bonuses. The payouts to other employees would be tied to the company’s financial performance.

Sears declined to comment. A bankruptcy court is expected to decide on the request on Dec. 20.

The company, which includes Sears and Kmart stores, has struggled to maintain sales and store traffic amid the rise of e-commerce competitors. Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last October and said it would close 142 unprofitable stores as part of the restructuring process.

Sears is attempting to sell about 400 of its top-performing stores. An auction of the stores is expected to take place in January.

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