Sears is in trouble: What shoppers should do as the company files for bankruptcy

For years, there have been reports of Sears death spiraling toward the corporate graveyard alongside other popular brick-and-mortar retailers.

The company, once one of the great brands of America, has managed to stay afloat in recent years by borrowing cash from its CEO and selling off desirable assets such as real-estate and brands.

Now, Sears has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early Monday morning. But just because Sears Holdings Corp is in trouble doesn’t mean consumers have to be.

In the wake of all that’s happening, here’s what Sears shoppers should know:

Question: Will my local store close?

Answer: Possibly.

Q: Can I still use my gift card?

A: Yes – at least for now. But experts suggest that you put them to use ASAP.

Q: What’s the best time to shop for deep discounts?

A: Now – maybe.

Q: I purchased an extended warranty. Will Sears still honor it?

A: Until the point at which a company files for bankruptcy, warranties and return policies will likely be “business as usual,” Hutt said.