Sears is Dead Meat Walking, after Horrid Holiday Quarter

Sears is Dead Meat Walking, after Horrid Holiday Quarter:

Why is Sears’ CEO still touting “progress,” even in SEC filings? Why not tell investors the truth, for once?

Sears Holdings — the storied and once dominant retailer turned into the biggest tragedy in US retail history — reported fourth quarter earnings today. The quarter, ended February 3, covered the crucial holiday sales period. Revenues plunged 27.7% year-over-year to 4.4 billion.

Over the same period, total retail sales across the US by all retailers, including online, rose 5.2%.

In fact, Sears’ revenues were so bad that in the crucial holiday quarter they were about flat with Q1 and Q2. In other words, Q4 was an unmitigated fiasco-disaster quarter.

In Q4 2012, Sears still had $12.3 billion in revenues.

The chart below shows just how miserably terrible revenues were in Q4, with no holiday pickup whatsoever, likely the first quarter in Sears’ post-World War II history where holiday revenues were about flat with Q1 and Q2 of the same year:

H/t reader eric:

`Recovery’

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Thousands More Stores Are Now On The 2018 Retail Apocalypse Death List

Thousands More Stores Are Now On The 2018 Retail Apocalypse Death List:

Every year, it seems like more and more retail outlets are going out of business, resulting in the loss of jobs and local supplies. Last year, hundreds of stores closed, and this year, even more shops are scheduled to shut their doors for good.

The 2018 Death List

This year, in an effort to save their businesses, the following retailers will close hundreds of their stores, according to Fox Business.

The Brick & Mortar Retail Meltdown, February Update

The Brick & Mortar Retail Meltdown, February Update:

And private equity is all over it.

The brick-and-mortar retail meltdown – despite protestations to the contrary – continues with a mechanistic air of inevitability. This started in 2015, took off in 2016, and picked up pace and magnitude in 2017, a progression I documented along the way. Now in 2018, there has been a brutal January and here’s the even more brutal February.

Bon-Ton Stores filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on February 4. The filing by the regional department store chain based in Pennsylvania was the largest bankruptcy filing by a retailer in 2018. It had been discussing with its creditors a restructuring of its debts, but that had turned out to be fruitless.

Read moreThe Brick & Mortar Retail Meltdown, February Update

Online Retail Soars at Fastest Rate in Years

H/t reader squodgy:

“Internet retail sales are expanding, but it is still only 10% of the total market, so cannot be blamed for the decline of the Mall & High Street.”

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The Brick-and-Mortar-Retail Meltdown in January

The Brick-and-Mortar-Retail Meltdown in January:

‘Tis the season for bankruptcies.

Sears Holdings, which has been on a highly effective hedge-fund-manager-designed program of cost-cutting itself to death, announced today that it obtained another $100-million loan from JPP, LLC and JPP II, LLC, which are solely owned by said hedge-fund manager and CEO of Sears Holdings, Eddy Lampert. After prior loans by the same entities and by Lampert’s hedge fund ESL were secured by the part of real estate that hadn’t been sold off in sweetheart deals to affiliated parties, the new loan is secured “by certain real property interests” and by “substantially all of the unencumbered intellectual property of the Company and its subsidiaries” except the IP related the Kenmore and DieHard brands.

Stripping out while the stripping is still possible.

Yesterday, Sears announced another step in cost-cutting itself to death: axing 220 jobs mostly at its corporate office. This was part of its stated goal to trim $1.25 billion from its annual expenses. After closing hundreds of Sears and Kmart stores last year, the company is on track to close 63 more stores in January. This will leave it with 1,041 Sears stores, down from 3,555 in 2010, and with about 500 Kmart stores.

Read moreThe Brick-and-Mortar-Retail Meltdown in January

We Have Tripled The Number Of Store Closings From Last Year, And 20 Major Retailers Have Closed At Least 50 Stores In 2017

We Have Tripled The Number Of Store Closings From Last Year, And 20 Major Retailers Have Closed At Least 50 Stores In 2017:

Did you know that the number of retail store closings in 2017 has already tripled the number from all of 2016?  Last year, a total of 2,056 store locations were closed down, but this year more than 6,700 stores have been shut down so far.  That absolutely shatters the all-time record for store closings in a single year, and yet nobody seems that concerned about it.  In 2008, an all-time record 6,163 retail stores were shuttered, and we have already surpassed that mark by a very wide margin.  We are facing an unprecedented retail apocalypse, and as you will see below, the number of retail store closings is actually supposed to be much higher next year.

Whenever the mainstream media reports on the retail apocalypse, they always try to put a positive spin on the story by blaming the growth of Amazon and other online retailers.  And without a doubt that has had an impact, but at this point online shopping still accounts for less than 10 percent of total U.S. retail sales.

Read moreWe Have Tripled The Number Of Store Closings From Last Year, And 20 Major Retailers Have Closed At Least 50 Stores In 2017

Blame the US Retail Apocalypse on hedge funds and financialization, not Amazon and Walmart

Blame the US Retail Apocalypse on hedge funds and financialization, not Amazon and Walmart:

America is in the midst of a “retail apocalypse”: 6,800 chain stores are closing this year. It’s true that online retailers and winner-take-alls like Walmart have delivered the coup de grace that finished off these stores, but the conditions that made them weak enough to kill are driven by Wall Street, not Walmart.

The common factor shared by the disparate struggling and bankrupt retailers — Toys R Us, Claire’s, Nordstrom’s, Macy’s, Sears, Penney’s, Circuit City, Sports Authority, Payless, Radio Shack, etc — is that they are saddled with crushing, inescapable debt that they took on when they were acquired by hedge funds that loaded the debt on as a way of stripmining the companies; also, they increasingly rely on predatory store-cards that can be used as cover for more financialization, debt-loading, and extraction by investors who profit even (especially) when their investments go bust.

Read moreBlame the US Retail Apocalypse on hedge funds and financialization, not Amazon and Walmart

Why America’s Retail Apocalypse Could Accelerate Even More In 2018

Why America’s Retail Apocalypse Could Accelerate Even More In 2018:

Is the retail apocalypse in the United States about to go to a whole new level?  That is a frightening thing to consider, because the truth is that things are already quite bad.  We have already shattered the all-time record for store closings in a single year and we still have the rest of November and December to go.  Unfortunately, it truly does appear that things will get even worse in 2018, because a tremendous amount of high-yield retail debt is coming due next year.  In fact, Bloomberg is reporting that the amount of high-yield retail debt that will mature next year is approximately 19 times larger than the amount that matured this year…

Read moreWhy America’s Retail Apocalypse Could Accelerate Even More In 2018