Sears Holdings Corporation, successor to Sears, Roebuck & Company (which almost a century ago was the world's largest retailer), continues to cut-down its already dwindling and demoralized workforce. Sears Holdings took a Chapter 11 in October 2018 in a bid to resurrect itself as a digital retailer.

The continuing collapse of the once fabled retailer, whose catalogue is an icon of Americana, saw 80 percent of employees at the Sears Hoffman Estates corporate offices in Illinois being fired Monday evening. Hundreds of other employees here were previously fired while hundreds more jobs in other locations around the U.S. are at risk.

Sears’ suppliers told Forbes of huge empty spaces in offices at Sears Hoffman Estates. One supplier said the entire merchandising staff for the home area for Sears he used to deal with has been reduced to four buyers and one divisional merchandise manager.

He said this unit had dozens of merchandisers in the past, which was also more than that at comparable retailers.

A long-time employee at an unidentified Sears store in California also told reporters they were told their store is closing. The person said closing this store will result in “massive layoffs.” The store wasn’t among the list of those scheduled to be shuttered for good.

Former Sears CEO Eddie Lampert -- whom many employees blame for causing Sears’ downfall -- was allowed by a bankruptcy court to purchase the remaining assets of Sears and continue to operate it.

At the time, Lampert told the court he had the best chance to continue to keep open the 400 or so remaining Sears and Kmart stores. He also said he was the only one that could keep the remaining 45,000 and 65,000 Sears and Kmart employees employed.

Sears still owns Kmart Corporation, the big box department store chain founded in 1899. Despite resigning as CEO, Lampert remains chairman of Sears Holdings and is still the company's largest investor.

Sears Pensions
Chairman Eddie Lampert's $5.2 billion bid to save Sears is being protested by the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. because it lacks funding for employee pension plans. A man walks out of a Sears store on October 15, 2018 in Montebello, California. The iconic American retailer has filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors early on Monday, listing more than $10 billion in debts and more than $1 billion in assets. Sears and its Kmart stores plan to stay in business for now, with help from $600 million in new loans. Getty Images/Mario Tama

Sears remains in dire straits. Sears lost over $11.7 billion from 2010 to 2018. The year 2010 was the last year Sears became profitable.

Sales have plummeted 60 percent in that time but Lampert, who is infamous as Wall Street's "Hedge Fund King," insists Sears can regain profitability once more. Lampert is Sears largest shareholder.

In late 2018, Lampert proposed a solution to Sears' cash crunch, that it sell its Kenmore appliance brand, plus real estate and other assets. At the time, Lampert said progress must be made in the debt repayment "without delay."

Chapter 11 bankruptcy should allow Sears to strengthen its balance sheet. It should also allow the company to accelerate its strategic transformation, continue right-sizing its operations while returning to profitability. Analysts said the ongoing spate of employee firings and store closures make this dream all that much harder.

Sears has closed some 200 stores since bankruptcy. The company retains over 500 locations, including 480 full-line department stores. It also operates 360 Kmart stores.