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The ingenious strategy of cost-cutting and store-closing your way out of trouble: Pretty soon, it leads to zero.
Sears reported first quarter earnings today. “Earnings” has been a bad joke with Sears, which has lost money every one of the past six years, $10 billion in total.
H/t reader squodgy:
“This article, whilst highlighting the struggle affecting all high street retailers, takes the mickey out of what is really the only route available for Sears….cost cutting and store closing.
Unfortunately only a few of us foresaw economic unsustainability on the horizon. The logic was laughed at, now the tsunami is here.”
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H/t reader squodgy:
“It is indeed a fair assumption that if and when the Big Names close down, the little shops who rely on the spin off trade from the Big Names, will suffer, causing terminal decline of the affected Malls.”
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“You were a Director at Sears for 12 years where you had oversight over the administration and investment in the pension fund.”
That Sears Holdings will file for bankruptcy appeared to be taken for granted in the confirmation hearings before the US Senate on Thursday. And when it does file, it’s going to get very complicated for Steven Mnuchin, the Trump administration’s appointment for Treasury Secretary. But the most fascinating part, for us as a non-political site, is the dissection of the whole Sears deal.
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), as he proceeds with his questioning, lays out how Sears Holding’s CEO “Eddie” Lampert, his hedge fund ESL, and some other entities have worked hard to get their hands on the real estate when Sears Holdings goes through bankruptcy, while the pension fund left behind is a sinkhole that taxpayers might be shanghaied into filling.
– Sears to accelerate closings, shutter 235 stores (CNBC, Dec 4, 2014):
Sears shares fell Thursday, after the struggling department store announced an adjusted net loss of $296 million—in line with the updated guidance it gave in November.
The retailer also said it’s accelerating the number of stores it plans to close this year, boosting its list from the 130 underperforming stores it announced in its second-quarter earnings release, to a total of 235 stores.
– THE RETAIL DEATH RATTLE (The Burning Platform, Jan 19, 2014):
“I was part of that strange race of people aptly described as spending their lives doing things they detest, to make money they don’t want, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.” – Emile Gauvreau
If ever a chart provided unequivocal proof the economic recovery storyline is a fraud, the one below is the smoking gun. November and December retail sales account for 20% to 40% of annual retail sales for most retailers. The number of visits to retail stores has plummeted by 50% since 2010. Please note this was during a supposed economic recovery. Also note consumer spending accounts for 70% of GDP. Also note credit card debt outstanding is 7% lower than its level in 2010 and 16% below its peak in 2008. Retailers like J.C. Penney, Best Buy, Sears, Radio Shack and Barnes & Noble continue to report appalling sales and profit results, along with listings of store closings. Even the heavyweights like Wal-Mart and Target continue to report negative comp store sales. How can the government and mainstream media be reporting an economic recovery when the industry that accounts for 70% of GDP is in free fall? The answer is that 99% of America has not had an economic recovery. Only Bernanke’s 1% owner class have benefited from his QE/ZIRP induced stock market levitation.
– What Recovery? Sears And J.C. Penney Are DYING (Economic Collapse, Jan 16, 2014):
Two of the largest retailers in America are steamrolling toward bankruptcy. Sears and J.C. Penney are both losing hundreds of millions of dollars each quarter, and both of them appear to be caught in the grip of a death spiral from which it will be impossible to escape. Once upon a time, Sears was actually the largest retailer in the United States, and even today Sears and J.C. Penney are “anchor stores” in malls all over the country. When I was growing up, my mother would take me to the mall when it was time to go clothes shopping, and there were usually just two options: Sears or J.C. Penney. When I got older, I actually worked for Sears for a little while. At the time, nobody would have ever imagined that Sears or J.C. Penney could go out of business someday. But that is precisely what is happening. They are both shutting down unprofitable stores and laying off employees in a desperate attempt to avoid bankruptcy, but everyone knows that they are just delaying the inevitable. These two great retail giants are dying, and they certainly won’t be the last to fall. This is just the beginning.
– Company to close at least 100 Sears, Kmart stores (AP, Dec 27, 2011):
NEW YORK — After a disastrous holiday shopping season, the parent company of Sears and Kmart will close at least 100 stores to raise cash — a move that sparked speculation about whether the 125-year-old retailer can avoid a death spiral fed by declining sales and deteriorating stores.
Sears Holdings Corp., a pillar of American retailing that famously began with a mail-order catalog in the 1880s, declared Tuesday that it would no longer prop up “marginally performing” locations. The company pledged to refocus its efforts on stores that make money.
Sears’ stock quickly plunged, dropping 27 percent.