Timeline: The rise and fall of Sears

Sears Holdings filed for bankruptcy in October 2018 after 125 years in business, closing a chapter in the company's long-and-storied history. Its chairman, Eddie Lampert, submitted a bid in late December in an effort to buy the retailer and keep it alive, people familiar with the situation tell CNBC. If successful, Lampert could save Sears from liquidation.

Founded in 1893 as Sears, Roebuck and Co., it's been a long and slow fall for the department store chain over the last few decades.

Sears, which merged with Kmart in 2004, had a combined 355,000 employees and more than 3,500 stores in 2006. Its workforce totaled less than 90,000 across fewer than 900 shops at the beginning of 2018. Its stock, once close to $200 a share in April 2007, fell below $1 a share in September.

Click through the timeline to see how Sears became one of America's most recognizable brands and what forces pushed it into decline.

History of Sears

— CNBC's Adam Jeffery contributed to this report.