NATIONWIDE -- Sears Holdings has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the company announced Monday.

The once-dominant retailer has faced declining sales and mounting debt in recent years.

Sears also plans to close 142 unprofitable stores near the end of the year.

CEO Edward S. Lampert has stepped down but will remain with the company as chairman, according to a news release.

"Over the last several years, we have worked hard to transform our business and unlock the value of our assets," Lampert said in a statement. "While we have made progress, the plan has yet to deliver the results we have desired, and addressing the Company's immediate liquidity needs has impacted our efforts to become a profitable and more competitive retailer."

Lambert said Sears and Kmart stores would "remain open for business" into the holiday season.

The more than 125-year-old company joins a growing list of retailers than have filed for bankruptcy, including Mattress Firm, Claire's and Toys "R" Us.

However, earlier this week, the toy retailer canceled its bankruptcy auction and announced it was planning to make a comeback.

Sears stores set for closure in the Orlando and Tampa Bay area include:

  • 1050 South Babcock Street - Melbourne, Florida 32901-3022
  • 3100 Southwest College Road, Suite 300 - Ocala Florida 34474-8449
  • 303 US Highway 301 Boulevard West - Bradenton, Florida 34205-7991
  • 3800 US Highway 98 North, Suite 500 - Lakeland, Florida 33809-3824

Liquidation sales are expected to begin at the listed stores soon.