The most recent filing from Sears showed it had only $193 million in cash on hand as of August 4, the end of its last fiscal quarter. The company also has $269 million available to it from lenders, according to figures it released on September 13.
Having so little cash available would make it very difficult for Sears to pay back $134 million in debt due on Monday. Plus, Sears also has to pay its current vendors and employees and stock up inventory before the holidays.
All signs point to a bankruptcy filing in the next few days. Sears' stock has fallen more than 50% in the last five days to around 35 cents a share.
Companies that file for bankruptcy typically negotiate a special kind of loan to stay in business while they go through the bankruptcy process. There are several reports that Sears is in talks for that kind of financing, but negotiations don't appear to be going well.
If Sears does file for Chapter 11, the company could try to stay in business, using the court process to shed debt and unaffordable leases. It could attempt to emerge as a profitable company. But the retail landscape is littered with brands that tried to reorganize in the bankruptcy process and liquidated their businesses instead, such as RadioShack, Toys "R" Us and Sports Authority.
In July Sears closed its last store in Chicago, once its hometown. The company recently announced another 46 store closings that will take place just before the start of the holiday shopping period.
Sears and Kmart had 89,000 employees as of February 3 of this year, according to a company filing.