Market Mad House

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

Market Insanity

Adidas Builds Robot Factory, Lendio Links Up with GoDaddy, Oldest Sears Store Closing

Technological unemployment is real and it is about to get a lot worse; Adidas (OTC: ADDYY) is building a robotic factory in Ansbach, Germany.

The factory marks the return of Adidas shoe production for the first time in 20 years; but the work will be done by robots, Agence France-Press reported. Limited production at the “Speed Factory” is supposed to begin in third quarter 2016, and full production is supposed to start next year.

Adidas is planning a second Speed Factory in the United States next year and similar facilities in Britain and France in the future, Agence France-Press reported. So yes, industrial production is slowly returning to Europe and America from Asia but the jobs are not.


Adidas’s sports shoes are currently made by hand in Asia. The company wants to shift to robotic production, because it is faster and closer to sales outlets. Robotic production could also allow it to keep selling profitably; under tariff regimes like that proposed by our friend Donald Trump.

Such a factory could also conceivably give Adidas the capability to manufacture custom order shoes and ship them directly to customers from the factory. It might work like this; in the future you will go to Amazon’s Zappos and order a new pair of sneakers, instead of going to a fulfillment center, the order will go to the Adidas factory. The robots will make the shoes to your specifications and ship them directly to you from the factory.

That capability; if it is real will make vast amounts of money for Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). It will also spell the doom of many more brick and mortar retail stores. It is easy to see why brick and mortar retailers like Sports Authority and Sports Chalet are collapsing.

Lendio Loans Now Available to GoDaddy Customers

Lendio is planning to start offering small business loans to customers through GoDaddy’s marketplace. The deal will make capital available to the bloggers and small businesspeople that use GoDaddy’s popular websites.

GoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) is trying to develop new sources of revenue to augment its website business. The domain name company is currently struggling with a negative profit margin of -2.42% and a net income of -$42.7 million; although its revenues are growing steadily.

GoDaddy added $5.8 million in revenue during the first quarter of 2016, despite its losses. GoDaddy started the first quarter with $1.607 billion in revenue that rose to $1.665 billion in March.

Oldest Sears Store Closing

America’s oldest Sears store; on Lawrence Avenue on Chicago’s North Side is closing, WBEZ reported. WBEZ reporter Dan Weissman made a depressing visit to the store which he chronicled in an excellent store that highlights Sears Holdings’ (NASDAQ: SHLD) troubles.

Some of the problems Weissman noted at Sears include:

  • Large areas of the store including the luggage section are empty with nothing to buy.


  • The store is in a bustling neighborhood just a few short walk from a busy train station but it was almost devoid customers.


  • The carpet on the Sears floor was worn.


  • The electronics department was full of outdated technology including blank VHS tapes, blank CD-ROMs and 15 different landline telephones.


  • There was only smartphone offer; which was marketed through the American Association of Retired People (AARP) an organization for senior citizens.


  • Most of the stock was gathering dust.


The Northside store is scheduled to close in August and the going out of business sale began on May 20. If Weissman’s account is correct, Sears cannot even attract customers with its going out of business sale.

With descriptions like that it is easy to see why Sears stock was trading at $12.69 a share on May 25, 2016. It is also see why the company has a net income of -$1.129 billion, a profit margin of -7.94%, a diluted earnings per share number of -10.70 and a free cash flow of -$172 million.

It looks like the endgame has begun at Sears. One has to wonder how much longer this retail dinosaur can survive.