Sears has “substantial doubt” about its future

Sears employs 140,000 people

FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, file photo, shoppers walk into a Sears store in Pittsburgh. Sears said that there is “substantial doubt” that it will be able to remain in business. The company, which runs Kmart and its namesake stores, has struggled for years with weak sales. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Sears, once the monolith of American retail, says that there is “substantial doubt” that 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.