Is it the End of Sears?

The saddest part of the sorry saga of Sears is that nobody but its employees might notice if the brand dies. The customers obviously abandoned Sears long ago, leaving nothing but debt and empty stores behind.

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Sears Implosion will hurt everybody including Pensioners and Stockholders

American Sears pensioners may soon find themselves in the situation. Sears Holdings (NASDAQ: SHLD) had a $1.6 billion shortfall in its pension fund, USA Today reported in March 2017.

What’s truly frightening is that Sears has no way to cover that shortfall. Its revenues fell by 27.22% during 3rd quarter 2017, Stockrow reported. Sears is operating at a loss; it reported an operating loss of $419 million and a net loss of $558 million on Halloween Day, 2017.

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The Retail Apocalypse is Alive and Well

Giving Walmart workers an extra $8 or $9 a day might have little or no impact on the economy. Walmart clerks can now afford to buy lunch at In-N-Out Burger; rather than at McDonald’s, how does that benefit the wider economy? Much higher wages will be needed for a real economic stimulus.

It remains to be seen if the $1,000 bonus and wage hike will have any effect on Main Street. Giving average families an extra $1,000 to pay off $1,000 of their credit card debt, might not do much for the economy. The average U.S. household now owes $15,654 in credit-card debt, Nerdwallet estimated.

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Sears the Death Spiral Continues

There are strong indicates that Sears has run out of money. The company is unable to make payments on a $400 million loan that was due on June 30, 2018.

The next likely scenario is that Sears will sell off Kenmore, possibly to Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Home Depot (NYSE: HD), Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), or Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW). Any of those companies would be smart to have Kenmore as an exclusive appliance brand. Sears is finished but Kenmore might survive.

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TJX: Department Stores that make money what’s up with that?

By shrewdly taking advantage of the opportunities created by the retail apocalypse, TJX has grown into America’s dominant department store brand. It is liable to remain in that position for a long time to come because of the sheer ineptitude of the competition.

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This is How a Department Store Dies, JC Penney

A final option at Penney’s is to start offering more unusual discounts like those seen at the TJX Companies (NYSE: TJX) stores. TJX has survived by turning its stores like Marshalls and TJX Maxx into giant bargain basements and offering lots of weird off the wall buys.

An obvious development here would be for TJX to buy JC Penney’s. TJX certainly has the resources to acquire Penney’s it reported $2.952 billion in cash and short-term investments and $3.521 billion in cash from operations on July 31, 2017.

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The Ever Growing List of Doomed Retailers

Expect to see a mass die-off of sick retailers in January and February of 2018 as the dust from the 2017 holiday season settles. If it is anything like last year’s numerous retailers are likely to report losses and more than a few will shut down.

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Dollar Tree Grows Again

One thing is certain both Dollar Tree and Dollar General are lousy investments because they are overpriced. Neither chain has done anything justify the high stock prices reported on September 12, 2017.

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Sears: the Horror Show Continues

What is most disturbing about the latest closure list is that almost all but one of the Kmart stores are scheduled to close in mid-November before the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Sears has decided to throw in the towel and not even compete for Christmas shoppers this year.

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Would Amazon buy Sears or Nordstrom?

This does not mean Amazon would not buy a department store. I can certainly picture it acquiring Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN); which has a “best in the industry” reputation, and a loyal customer following much like Whole Foods. It also likes to implement next generation retail practices like setting up “storefronts” for online merchants and Tesla dealerships in its stores.

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