Monday, October 15, 2018

Sears Holdings files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse

As foreshadowed in Part 4 of Sears, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse, Sears Holdings filed for bankruptcy today.  WXYZ broke the story at 6:00 A.M. today with Sears, the store that changed America, declares bankruptcy.

Sears, the once-dominant retail chain that changed how Americans shopped and lived, has filed for bankruptcy.
The Taylor store that served as the backdrop for the location shoot was not on the closure list.  Instead, the Sears in Ann Arbor and Lincoln Park and the KMarts in Lake Orion and North Charlevoix were.  I used to shop at the Sears in Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor, so that hits close to home.  Also, last I checked, Briarwood Mall is not a dead mall, so seeing it on the closure list surprises me.  Maybe it just lost customers to the other anchors, JCPenney, Macy's, and Von Maur.  However, my prediction that the Twelve Oaks Mall location in Novi would be open until the entire chain goes under continues to look good.  Good thing I didn't write that about the Sears in Briarwood!

In addition to Sears filing for bankruptcy, Eddie Lampert, who I call Fast Eddie Lamprey, has stepped down as CEO.  CNBC discusses that and more in Cramer: Capitalism getting rid of Sears is good.

The 'Squawk on the Street' team discusses Sears filing for bankruptcy and Eddie Lampert, Sears Holdings CEO, stepping down.
I can imagine trying to run a retail chain that isn't for rich people from a yacht in Florida would be difficult, not that I feel sorry for Fast Eddie Lamprey.  He needed to go.  Also, I think Cramer may not be wrong that the creditors could force the hand of Sears Holdings and cause the firm to go into Chapter 7 bankruptcy, resulting in liquidation of assets and closure of all stores by early next year.  I hope that's not the case, but I think the entire company will be out of business by late next year or early 2020 at the latest.

CNBC also looked forward to what the Sears bankruptcy would mean to malls and Sears retail competitors in Sears bankruptcy not a bad thing for malls, says pro.

Liz Dunn, Pro4ma founder and CEO, and Charlie O’Shea, Moody’s retail analyst, discuss the future for Sears following its bankruptcy filing as well as who else in the sector stands to benefit.
My opinion of what the bankruptcy will do for malls is still the same as it was last Friday.  "It will sink a lot of malls, although some landlords will be able to lure more lucrative tenants (subscription required); the rich will get richer while the poor get poorer."  As for which competitors will benefit, I agree with the panel — Macy's, JCPenney, WalMart and Target for general purchases, Best Buy for electronics, and Amazon for people who want to shop online.

I conclude with CBS News giving a capsule history of the chain in How Sears went from innovation to bankruptcy.

Over its 130-year history, Sears has sold watches, clothes, farm machinery, appliances and even houses.
Looks like the company has been in decline for longer than I thought.  Wow, sad.

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