Sears faces ‘substantial doubt’ about finances as losses grow

CHICAGO -- It was the nation’s leading retailer as recently as 1989, but Sears appears to be on the verge of shutting its doors.

Sears parent company acknowledged "substantial doubt" about its ability to keep operating in its annual report filing.

The company has lost more than $10 billion in recent years.

The disclosure comes after more optimistic signs from the company, which has been working on a turnaround under Chief Executive Officer Eddie Lampert.

Sears posted a smaller loss than predicted in the fourth quarter, and it has pledged to lower its debt burden and cut annual expenses by at least $1 billion.

As part of its comeback plan, Sears had closed stores, sold real estate and offloaded businesses.

Earlier this month, the department-store chain completed the sale of its Craftsman tool brand to Stanley Black & Decker for about $900 million.

Lampert, a hedge fund manager who is also Sears's biggest investor, aims to reduce debt and pension obligations by $1.5 billion.

The CEO has helped keep the ailing retailer afloat by offering more than $1 billion of assistance personally.