Sears at the Mall at Fairfield Commons and Dayton Mall have closed. Piqua’s store is set to close. The future of the Springfield Sears could be determined today. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Sears deadline for bidders has arrived: Here’s what could happen

Today could determine the future of Sears.

The company that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October wants to sell more than 500 of its remaining stores to keep them running. The deadline for bids is today.

Sears has said there are several potential buyers, but the only public bid so far has come from chairman and former CEO Eddie Lampert and his hedge fund ESL Investments. Lampert has pulled out all stops to save the struggling retailer that hasn’t seen a profitable year since 2010.

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The most recent attempt that came early this month offers $4.6 billion that could save 505 stores, including one in Springfield, and more than 50,000 jobs. But sources close to the matter told CNBC that Lampert hasn’t rounded up the funds to submit the official bid yet.

“Sears is an iconic fixture in American retail and we continue to believe in the company’s immense potential to evolve and operate profitably as a going concern with a new capitalization and organizational structure,” ESL said in a statement announcing its bid.

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If more than one bid is received, the company will go up for auction in mid-January. If Lampert’s is the only offer, it must be approved by the bankruptcy court to move forward. If no bids are submitted by the deadline, the company will liquidate its remaining assets.

The Dayton Mall and Mall at Fairfield Commons stores have already closed and the Piqua store will close in February. The Springfield Sears is on the list of stores to be saved if the bankruptcy court approves a bidder.

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