Sears staved off liquidation Wednesday when company chairman Eddie Lampert won a bankruptcy auction for the dwindling company, according to a source close to the negotiations cited by the Associated Press. The retail chain, which has been largely unable to keep pace with rivals like Amazon and Target, first filed for bankruptcy this October. Lampert, who is the largest shareholder for the company, reportedly bid more than $5 billion to keep it afloat. The plan must still be approved by a bankruptcy judge in New York before it can proceed—but if the judge green lights the bid, Lampert could work to keep the company’s more than 400 stores open, possibly salvaging tens of thousands of jobs.
Industry analysts, however, aren’t so sure. “While there’s no doubt that a shrunken Sears will be more viable than the larger entity, which struggled to turn a profit, we remain extremely pessimistic about the chain’s future,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, told the Associated Press. “In our view, Sears exits this process with almost as many problems as it had when it entered bankruptcy protection. In essence, its hand has not changed, and the cards it holds are not winning ones.”