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Sears has “substantial doubt” about its future

FILE -- An exterior photograph of a Sears store in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – Sears, once the monolith of American retail, says that there is “substantial doubt” tat it will be able to keep its doors open.

Company shares, which hit an all-time low last month, tumbled more than 5 percent before the opening bell Wednesday.

Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert’s hedge fund has forwarded millions in funding to keep Sears afloat but with sales fading, it is burning through cash.

According to its most recent regulatory filing late Tuesday, Sears Holdings Corp. lost more than $2 billion last year. Adjusted for one-time charges, its loss was $887 million.

Sears, which employs 140,000 people, has been selling assets like its Craftsman tool brand.

But it says its pension agreements may prevent the spin-off of more businesses, potentially leading to a shortfall in funding.