Sears, an anchor of retail life for generations of Americans, filed for bankruptcy on Monday and said it was closing almost 150 stores, the latest marquee victim of the online era. Founded in 1886 as a mail order catalog company, it went on to pioneer the department store industry, selling all things to all people, and by the mid-20th century had built a vast empire that stretched across North America. But in recent decades the company struggled in a quickly shifting retail environment, battered by competition from big-box stores and then by the meteoric rise of Amazon and other e-commerce players. Sears Holdings Corporation, also the parent company for Kmart, which merged with Sears in 2005, said in a statement it had filed for bankruptcy protection in Manhattan. The company been drowning in debt exceeding $5bn and reportedly could not make a $134m payment that had been due on Monday. S&P Global Ratings on Monday downgraded the company’s debt to “D”, calling the company's capital s...

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