Sears to close 80 more stores as deadline looms today

Sears has 24 hours to be saved

Sears filed for bankruptcy on October 15, and has previously announced more than 180 store closures.

The ESL bid follows a series of moves that Lampert has offered to salvage the company over the past few years.

The deadline to submit bids for Sears is December 28. At that time, ESL could participate in the auction against liquidation bidders on January 14. Should Lampert miss the deadline, it would put Sears and Kmart on the path to liquidation. But he also needed cash, and some lenders have balked because Sears has been losing money for years, and suppliers are concerned they might not get paid for goods that they ship to restock stores. Liquidation sales at the stores should begin in two weeks, Sears said. Experts say most of the already-closed stores will likely face demolition because of difficulty in finding new tenants to utilize stores of that size, typically 10,000 square feet or more.

These sources also told CNBC that ESL Investments is the only party offering to buy Sears as a whole.

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Elsewhere, U.S. political turmoil triggered by the partial shutdown of the federal government is also adding to market concerns. Meanwhile, WTI crude oil futures rose 7.1% to $45.5 per barrel and Brent crude was up 6.5% to $53.7 per barrel on Wednesday.

The once-dominant retailer filed for bankruptcy in October, and Lampert was seeking nearly $1 billion to support his rescue effort.

Sears did not immediately respond to Fortune's request for comment.

While Lampert has said he intends to make the bid, he has not formally filed one with the bankruptcy court.

As of the bankruptcy filing, the company employed about 68,000 people. 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.

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