As retailers take their first steps of a new business year in 2019, they are gearing up to try to stay afloat as they compete in an e-commerce world. Last year brought serious financial challenges to many businesses that have been household names in Louisiana and across the country for decades. Sears, in fact, had been in business for more than a century before owners determined a need to seek immediate debt relief.

Brick and mortar stores have a tough time staying on top when so many consumers would rather click a link to make a purchase rather than drive to a store and risk not being able to find what they want, only to stand in line at cash registers if they do put an item or two in their shopping carts. Some stores, such as Walmart and Target, remodeled numerous store buildings and also added special features to their customers’ online shopping experiences, such as faster shipping. Sears and several other retailers who did not take similar precautions have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy or other debt relief options to help overcome their current financial crises.

The previous CEO of Sears has put in a bid of more than $4 billion to try to buy back several hundred stores to avoid a permanent business shut-down for the 125-year-old company. The bid must meet the bankruptcy court’s approval. If the judge overseeing the case rejects the bid, the company will be forced to liquidate its assets.

There may be Louisiana business owners struggling with similar financial problems as 2019 kicks off. Like Sears and many other retailers, such as David’s Bridal, Mattress Firm and Gumps’ Holdings, companies in need of immediate debt relief may want to learn more about Chapter 11 bankruptcy or other possible solutions. An experienced attorney can provide additional information and help determine which option may be most viable in a given set of circumstances.