Thursday, January 31, 2019

Is Eddie Lampert set to 'steal' Kenmore brand? Courtroom clash will decide fate of Sears

USA Today
A last-minute bid to save Sears now faces new challenges.

The U.S. government, major mall owners and other creditors are lining up to block the effort to hold off liquidation, setting up a courtroom clash to decide the fate of one of America's most iconic retailers.

The federal agency that backstops corporate pensions is objecting to Sears chairman, investor and former CEO Eddie Lampert's bid to acquire the retailer out of bankruptcy, a deal that presents the last remaining alternative to going out of business altogether. The agency accused Lampert of structuring the deal to inappropriately obtain ownership of the chain's Kenmore appliance brand and the DieHard tools brand. . . . more

How Many More Store Closures Are Expected in 2019?

NREI
Despite headline-making store closings by Sears, Bon-Ton, Kmart,and others over the past few months, U.S. shopping center and mall owners have been working hard to hang on to tenants. However, they are likely gearing up for another challenging year as more store closures are anticipated in 2019.

Research firm Reis Inc. reported that the overall U.S. retail vacancy rate in the fourth quarter of 2018 remained flat at 10.2 percent. The vacancy rate are regional and superregional malls dropped slightly to 9.0 percent from 9.1 percent in the third quarter, which marked a seven-year high.. . . more

Pending Sears Buyout Puts Regional Mall Owners in Limbo

NREI
Sears Holdings Corp. Chairman Eddie Lampert put in a winning bid to buy the struggling retailer out of bankruptcy earlier this month following the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in October. But the “rescue” Lampert is orchestrating to keep the lights on at more than 400 Sears and Kmart stores is not necessarily welcome news to mall owners.

Lampert’s bid of $5.2 billion to buy the company via his hedge fund, ESL Investments, was accepted by U.S. Bankruptcy Court. However, it is not a done deal. Creditors still have the ability to appeal that decision and plead their case in favor of liquidation. . . . more

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Macy’s to close one Massachusetts store among nine stores company is closing nationwide

masslive.com
Macy’s will close its Swansea Mall store on March 24, according to staffers there.

It’s the only Massachusetts location among a published list of nine Macy’s locations nationwide that will close in early 2019. . . . more

Sears lost millions over the holiday season

CNN
Sears needed a great holiday shopping season, but the struggling retailer missed the mark.

The company lost $318 million in November and December, according to financial results filed by the company.
Much of the losses came from bankruptcy reorganizaton, which cost about $249 million across the two months. But even without the bankruptcy costs, the struggling retailer lost about $69 million during the two-month period.. . . more

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A Penney saved?

Retail Dive
Over the holidays, a time of consumer spending strength that lifted most, a few unlucky retailers — including Tiffany & Co., Macy's and Nordstrom — suffered disappointing numbers. J.C. Penney was also in that sad group, as its holiday comps tumbled 3.5% (5.4% without a sales timing shift), but it's facing an even more alarming truth — that its seasonal weakness may be less of a disappointment only because it wasn't much of a surprise.

It's been a long haul for the 110-year-old discount department store, which just recently welcomed yet another new chief executive, former Joann chief Jill Soltau, after Marvin Ellison left last summer to take over at Lowe's. . . . more

Average lease lengths drop to 4.5 years for general retail in malls

Chain Store Age
It’s a renter’s market in malls these days. In-line tenants are asking for shorter leases and getting them.

A CoStar study found leases for general retail and apparel tenants have fallen from an average of six years in the five-year period ending in 2007 to 4.5 years in the most recent period. Lease lengths for non-traditional tenants, meanwhile, have risen to an average of 5.6 years. . . . more

GameStop Ends Effort to Sell Itself, Sending Stock Plunging

Bloomberg
GameStop Corp. said it has stopped an effort to sell itself, citing a lack of available financing at terms a buyer would find acceptable. The shares tanked 22 percent in early U.S. trading.

The retailer started a strategic review in June and sold its Spring Mobile business as part of that process. GameStop said it is continuing its search for a permanent chief executive officer.. . . more

Friday, January 25, 2019

Things Remembered reportedly mulls bankruptcy, store closures

Retail Dive
Mall-based retailer Things Remembered is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and close most of its 400 stores, Reuters reports, citing unnamed sources. The company has hired investment bank Miller Buckfire & Co, owned by Stifel Financial and restructuring lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis, according to the report.

The retailer, founded 40 years ago to sell engraved gifts, was acquired in 2012 by private equity firm Madison Dearborn from two other PE firms, according to a press release. Madison Dearborn exited that investment in 2017, the firm told Retail Dive in an email. The company is now backed by a consortium that includes private equity firm KKR, which was involved in a 2016 restructuring, according to Reuters.. . . more

Restaurant Approved for Former Sears Auto Center Location at Burlington Mall

bcattv.org
The first restaurant of the Burlington Mall’s renovation project of the former Sears and Sears Automotive Center has been given the green light.

Last Thursday the Planning Board a special permit for CAVA Mezze Grill that will be located in the new 35,000 square feet restaurant and retail building planned for the former auto center. According to paperwork filed with the town the restaurant will occupy 2,545 square feet of the building and have seasonal outdoor patio seating.. . . more

Ex-Sears CEO: The embattled chain probably won’t survive if retail bankruptcy history is any guide

CNBC
The odds are stacked against billionaire investor Eddie Lampert and his $5 billion-plus effort to resurrect Sears from bankruptcy, former Sears Chairman and CEO Alan Lacy told CNBC Thursday.

“Obviously, many people have said it, it’s doubtful and unlikely that a retailer that goes into a Chapter 11 process comes out of it and stays out of it,” he said on “Squawk on the Street.” “It’s rare that that’s happened in retail bankruptcy history.”. . . more

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Ex-Sears CEO Eddie Lampert orchestrated 'scheme' to 'steal' Sears, creditors allege

USA Today
Longtime Sears boss and investor Eddie Lampert orchestrated a "multiyear and multifaceted scheme" to strip the company of assets and capitalize on its decline, a group of the retailer's major creditors alleged.

Lampert, who remains chairman of Sears and was CEO until the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October, presided over the closure of more than 3,500 stores and the loss of about 250,000 jobs, according to a scathing filing Wednesday by unsecured creditors.

The creditors are hoping to persuade a federal judge to force Sears to liquidate instead of accepting the latest offer by Lampert's hedge fund ESL Investments to keep a shrunken version of the company alive.. . . more

Does J.C. Penney Have a Viable Turnaround Plan? Retail Analysts Want to See Concrete Measures

NREI
J.C. Penney is far from out of the woods as it attempts yet another turnaround.

The ailing Plano, Texas-based department store chain reported falling sales and more store closings recently, while key executive positions still remain vacant. Just as unsettling for many analysts is the fact that the retailer still hasn’t announced tangible plans for a turnaround.. . . more

Enfield Square sold to Long Island-based mall company

Hartford Courant
The $11.4 million sale of the Enfield Square mall, which had been in decline for years, has now been finalized and the new owner is the Long Island-based Namdar Realty Group.

Namdar owns and operates more than 37 million square feet of commercial real estate across the U.S., including large retail malls, shopping centers, office and medical buildings.. . . more

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

J.C. Penney Struggles to Avoid Same Fate as Sears

The Wall Street Journal
J.C. Penney Co.’s  sales are falling, its stores are stuck in malls and the turnaround strategy keeps changing. Now, three months after the embattled retailer hired a new chief executive, a handful of senior positions remain vacant.

The series of events is prompting analysts and other industry experts to question whether Penney can avoid the fate of fellow department-store operator Sears Holdings Corp., which filed for bankruptcy and barely staved off liquidation.. . . more

Express CEO abruptly departs

Retail Dive
Express, Inc. on Tuesday announced the departure of CEO David Kornberg, who will also no longer serve as president or as a member of the board of directors, effective immediately.

He will remain employed by the company through Feb. 21, however. The board has appointed Matthew Moellering to serve as chief executive in the interim while a permanent CEO and president is appointed, according to a company press release.. . . more

Mickey Drexler steps down as chairman of J. Crew

Retail Dive
J. Crew announced on Friday the retirement of its chairman and former CEO Millard "Mickey" Drexler, according to a press release. Drexler is leaving the company to "devote his full time to the development of Drexler Ventures, LLC and other interests."

Chad Leat, who has served as a director of the company since 2017 and is a retired vice chairman of Global Banking at Citigroup, was elected to succeed Drexler as chairman. . . . more

Friday, January 18, 2019

Federal regulators object to Nine West bankruptcy plan

Retail Dive
The Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Trustee for the New York Region on Jan. 11 each filed objections to the bankruptcy plan proposed by Nine West Holdings, according to court documents filed at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

At issue are releases within the plan that William Harrington, U.S. Trustee for Region 2, said improperly shield professionals — consultants, financial advisers and others — from claims of "fraud, gross negligence, or willful misconduct" and serve as "merely a backdoor to administrative expenses," according to his filing.. . . more

Sears gets saved but still same ol' retailer

FOX Business
Former Sears CEO Eddie Lampert is on a mission to save the bankrupt retailer, but even if his latest bid to keep hundreds of stores open receives approval, there remains a rough road ahead for the once-iconic department store chain.

Lampert’s revamped $5.2 billion bid – submitted through his hedge fund ESL Investments – to keep hundreds of stores open and prevent the 126-year old retailer from liquidating still faces approval in bankruptcy court – but a judge is far from the final hurdle the businessman faces to keep the retailer alive.. . . more

GameStop Jumps on Strong U.S. Holiday Sales Numbers

The Street
Video game retailer GameStop rose 1.5% in trading after reporting strong holiday season sales in the U.S., though overall results were weighed down by weakness in the international market.

The Grapevine, Texas-based company reported total global sales for the nine-week holiday period ended Jan. 5, of $2.63 billion. Total comparable-store sales increased 1.5%, including a 3.6% jump in the U.S. . . . more

Zales and Kay Parent Signet Hints at Store Closings After Weak Holiday Season

Fortune
Signet Jewelers, the owner of the Kay Jewelers, Zales and Jared chains, on Thursday reported weak holiday sales and hinted that it will speed up store closings, a disappointing development for a retailer in what was a strong consumer spending environment over the holidays. MasterCard Spending Pulse recently estimated U.S. retail sales rose 5.1% during that period. For jewelry, the figure was a 3.7% jump.

But Signet said sales at stores open for at least 12 months fell 1.3% in the nine weeks ended January 5. Signet pointed to “reduced traffic during key December gifting weeks.” Its higher end Jared chain, which operates outside of malls in stand-alone stores, saw the worst of it with comparable sales down 8%.. . . more

Sears creditors object to Eddie Lampert’s winning bid, call it part of ‘years-long scheme’

MarketWatch
A group of Sears creditors are challenging Chairman Eddie Lampert’s hedge fund’s winning $5.2 billion bid to buy the business in a bankruptcy auction and wants to air their grievances in court.

Sears creditors contend that Lampert has painted himself as the savior of the company, but has instead made a series of moves over the years that have benefited himself and his hedge fund ESL.. . . more

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Macy's on the brink

Retail Dive
After initiating a turnaround plan that entailed shuttering some 100 stores nationwide, bringing up a well-prepared insider to take over as chief executive, investing in avant-garde retail ideas and store concepts and joining the off-price party, Macy's delivered bad news last week: Holiday 2018 was pretty much a bust.

The department store's November/December comparable sales on an owned plus licensed basis rose 1.1% (owned merchandise rose 0.7%) and e-commerce grew in double digits, but the real problem was that it couldn't sustain momentum after strong Black Friday sales. Investors have punished the retailer for its failure to partake of a Christmas week that buoyed many others, propped up by strength in the economy and consumer confidence.. . . more

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Dry Goods expanding its store portfolio

Chain Store Age
The specialty fashion retailer owned by Von Maur Department Store is ramping up store expansion.

Dry Goods said it will open 19 stores in 2019, giving it a total of 58 locations nationwide. The openings will see the retailer enter seven new states — Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee — and expand its footprint to 58 locations. In 2018, Dry Goods opened 12 stores.. . . more

Shoe retailer Payless to explore options, including sale

Chain Store Age
U.S. discount retailer Payless ShoeSource has hired an advisor to help evaluate strategic alternatives, including a sale or restructuring, less than 18 months after it emerged from bankruptcy, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The action underscores the efforts Payless is making to avoid a second bankruptcy, as the popularity of online shopping on websites such as Amazon.com continues to challenge the viability of many brick-and-mortar retailers.. . . more

Nordstrom shares tumble on disappointing holiday sales

CNBC
Nordstrom shares tumbled more than 7 percent Wednesday after the retailer said sales at its full-price stores were “below expectations” this holiday season and that it would need to use promotions to get rid of excess inventory.

The news, which was reported Tuesday evening, resulted in two Wall Street analysts downgrading Nordstrom’s stock, calling out the weak trends at Nordstrom’s core department store business. Nordstrom’s off-price Rack stores have, meanwhile, been performing more in line with expectations. . . . more

Sears staves off liquidation, stores to remain open

AP News
Sears will live on— at least for now.

The company’s chairman and largest shareholder, Eddie Lampert, won a bankruptcy auction for Sears, averting liquidation of the iconic chain, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. The person agreed to speak on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the negotiation publicly.

Lampert is the only one to put out a bid for the whole company. The 56-year-old billionaire had sweetened his bid to more than $5 billion over the last few days through an affiliate of his hedge fund ESL. Details of the final terms couldn’t be learned.. . . more

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

J.C. Penney CEO assembles a team as Fitch downgrades

Retail Dive
Several analysts hailed former Joann chief Soltau's arrival in October, but the newness of her tenure is introducing a level of uncertainty that contributed to the retailer's downgrade Monday, Fitch said.

"As a result of recent operating weakness and new leadership, the company's near-term direction and strategy is unclear," Fitch said. "The prior management team [under Marvin Ellison] had made decisions over the past 24 months including getting into appliances and mattresses in order to take share away from some [of] its distressed peers. However, new management could decide on a different course for the company to stem sales and EBITDA declines.". . . more

Stage Stores ramping up off-price store conversion program

Chain Store Age
Stage Stores is going off-price in a big way.

The department store retailer announced it will convert approximately 220 additional department stores to its Gordmans off-price banner by the middle of 2020, starting with some 70 stores this year. The 2019 conversions will occur predominantly in the smaller, Midwestern markets where the company said it has seen outstanding results to date.. . . more

Sears Is Said to Extend Talks on Lampert's Plan to Rescue Chain

Yahoo Finance
Talks on the latest Sears takeover bid from Chairman Eddie Lampert are extending into Tuesday as stakeholders try to reach an agreement on whether Sears Holdings Corp. should live on.

The discussions lasted for over 12 hours on Monday before the parties decided to reconvene at 9 a.m. today in New York. Negotiators initially didn’t embrace Lampert’s revised rescue plan for the bankrupt retailer, but they were concentrating on his proposal rather than competing bids from liquidators, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. . . . more

Gymboree reportedly set to file for bankruptcy

Chain Store Age
Gymboree Corp. is reportedly very close to its second Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in less than two years.

The children’s apparel retailer is expected to file for bankruptcy protection as soon as this week, reported CNBC. As part of the process, Gymboree expects to shutter nearly all of the roughly 900 stores it operates under its three banners, the report said.. . . more

Monday, January 14, 2019

Strong Economy Can’t Save Macy’s From Retail Shifts

The Wall Street Journal
Macy’s Inc. and other mall-based retailers said sales petered out at the end of the year as they continued to lose customers to discounters and e-commerce, highlighting how not all chains are positioned to benefit from a strong U.S. economy.

The year-end results—and a weak profit outlook from Macy’s—clouded what have been upbeat expectations for the holiday sales season with consumers showing a hearty willingness to spend. . . . more

Win or lose, Sears’ chairman may still come out on top

Boston Herald
As Sears teeters on the brink of collapse, one man stands at the center of the fight for the future of the iconic retailer.

Eddie Lampert plays several often-conflicting roles in what could be the final chapter for the company that began as a mail order watch business 132 years ago. He’s been chairman, CEO, landlord, lender, and largest shareholder — all at the same time. If the company survives, he wins. If it ends up liquidating, he also wins.. . . more

Sears bankruptcy raises old questions about cost of going broke

Reuters
Sears has survived the Great Depression and world wars. Whether the 126-year-old retailer stays afloat or goes out of business now hinges in part on paying for the enormous bill piled up by going broke.

The fate of Sears Holdings Corp highlights a harsh reality of U.S. bankruptcy - it requires armies of pricey specialists in a system driven by an outcome, not costs.. . . more

Friday, January 11, 2019

Chico's to close 250 stores over 3 years

Retail Dive
Chico's FAS on Friday announced a "retail fleet optimization plan" that will shutter 250 stores over the next three years and include a review of the company's operations, according to a company press release. As of November, the company operated about 1,400 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Looking ahead, the company said that comps are trending better than its previous outlook. By brand, fourth quarter comps for Chico's are in line with expectations, while White House Black Market comps are exceeding and Soma sales are well above expectations.. . . more

Amazon eyes closed Sears stores for Whole Foods expansion

Yahoo Finance
While some traditional retailers are having a hard time keeping their doors open, Amazon-owned Whole Foods has been gearing up to rapidly expand into more regions.

Grocery chain Whole Foods is eyeing sites that were previously home to Sears, Kmart and other struggling retailers, sources told Yahoo Finance.. . . more

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Eddie Lampert Wants to Save Sears but Mall Owners Say Don’t Bother

The Wall Street Journal
Shopping center owners usually dread the prospect of a big retail operator shutting its doors. In the case of Sears Holdings Corp., many landlords are welcoming it.

That is in large part because these owners have lost faith in Sears chairman Eddie Lampert, his plans to salvage the company and a brand that they view as outdated, many big landlords and retail analysts say.. . . more

Fitch Ratings names retailers at ‘significant risk of default’

Chain Store Age
Retailers currently on Fitch’s ‘Top Loans of Concern’ list, which indicates a significant risk of default, include Neiman Marcus Group, Toms Shoes, Indra Holdings, Iconix Brand Group, NYDJ Apparel and Charlotte Russe. Retail accounts for 18% of the ‘Top Loans of Concern’ volume, the most of any sector. The 2018 default rate for U.S. retail leveraged loans was 4.7%, above the overall 1.75% rate, with $3 billion of volume.

Fitch’s ‘Top Loans of Concern’ list includes debt that has deeply speculative-grade ratings and discounted secondary market bid levels relative to par. Adverse market information or events and insight from sector analysts are also factors. . . . more

Macy's shares plunge as weak holiday sales prompt forecast cut

Reuters
Shares of Macy’s Inc plunged 17 percent in early trading on Thursday, after the department store operator cut same-store sales forecast for the crucial holiday quarter due to weak demand during mid-December.

Sales from Macy’s stores and third-party licensees open for more than 12 months is now expected to grow about 2 percent, lower than a prior forecast of between 2.3 percent and 2.5 percent.. . . more

Lampert submits new bid for Sears, boosting chances retailer may dodge liquidation

Reuters/St Louis Post-Dispatch
Sears Holding Corp. Chairman Eddie Lampert submitted a revised roughly $5 billion takeover bid for the company on Wednesday, people familiar with the matter said, boosting the chances that the U.S. department store operator will escape liquidation.

In a concession, Lampert agreed to assume tax and vendor bills Sears has incurred since filing for bankruptcy protection in October, the sources said. His revised bid was submitted through an affiliate of his hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc., on Wednesday afternoon along with a $120 million deposit, the sources added.. . . more

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Sears to consider revised ESL bid

Retail Dive
Sears Holdings Chairman Eddie Lampert has bought yet more time to revise his $4.4 billion bid to keep the 126-year-old retailer running.

During a bankruptcy hearing on Tuesday, members of Sears Holdings' special committee on the issue said that after several days of "round-the-clock negotiations" they will allow Lampert's hedge fund, ESL Investments, to revise its bid ahead of the Jan. 14 bankruptcy auction. Another court hearing to confirm the results of that auction is scheduled for Jan. 31.

ESL is expected to formally submit that bid, along with a $120 million deposit, by 4 p.m. Wednesday. That money, of which $17.9 million is non-refundable, is the cash burn the company expects to lose ahead of the auction. . . . more

J.C. Penney to close three stores as part of ongoing review

Chain Store Age
J.C. Penney on Tuesday gave a preliminary update on its holiday results and suggested some store closings are ahead.

The retailer said that its same-store sales for the combined nine-week period ending Jan. 5, 2019, decreased 3.5% on an adjusted basis.

Additionally, Penney said it will initiate three preliminary store closings this spring as part of an ongoing evaluation of its store portfolio that will occur during the next few months. . . . more

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Reports: Sears Reaches Temporary Deal to Avoid Bankruptcy, Will Keep 425 Stores Open

REBusiness Online
Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLDQ) has reached a temporary deal to avoid bankruptcy and keep 425 of its stores open, according to media sources.

After it was widely speculated that Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert’s $4.4 billion bid to save the company would be rejected, representatives of Sears agreed Tuesday to a revised bid from Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments, that gives the 126-year-old company another small shot at survival.. . . more

Sears to serve as case study of ‘how not to run a retail operation’

Chain Store Age
Reports of Sears headed to liquidation suggest that the much-storied retailer is now at the end of its long road to collapse. Its recent journey to this point has been characterized by incredibly poor strategic decisions, chronic underinvestment, and continuous financial machinations designed to keep the company afloat. All of this impacted trading, which has remained dire, making Sears more like a patient in a coma than a fully functioning retailer.

While Eddie Lampert has worked hard to rescue the remains of his empire, there is simply not enough financial firepower left in the company to persuade investors of his bid. . . . more

Sears to ask bankruptcy judge for approval to liquidate - sources

Reuters
Sears Holdings Corp will ask a bankruptcy judge on Tuesday if it can proceed with liquidation after it could not reach an agreement on Chairman Edward Lampert’s $4.4 billion takeover bid, casting doubt on the survival of the 126-year-old U.S. department store chain, people familiar with the matter said.

Should Sears liquidate its assets, it would become one of the most high-profile victim in the wave of bankruptcies that has swept the retail sector in the last few years, as the popularity of online shopping exacerbates the fierce price competition facing brick-and-mortar stores.. . . more

Monday, January 7, 2019

WSJ: Charlotte Russe mulls sale, bankruptcy

Retail Dive
Mall-based teen retailer Charlotte Russe is reportedly considering a sale or bankruptcy, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal on Friday.

The retailer hired Guggenheim Securities recently to explore strategic alternatives, the sources told the Journal.

A bankruptcy could be avoided if the retailer can strike a deal that allows it to scale, potentially through a sale or partnership of some kind, one of the sources said.. . . more

US retail recovery under new scrutiny on Wall Street

Financial Times
The strength of the recovery in the US retail sector is under new scrutiny in spite of record-breaking holiday sales, as data show sliding footfall in stores, slowing rental growth at malls and stuttering demand for consumer electronics.

For the second festive period in a row, the number of consumers shopping in stores fell 3 per cent year-on-year, according to retail analytics group ShopperTrak, as millions of Americans opted to buy gifts online. . . . more

Sears prepares for possible liquidation as Chairman Edward Lampert's bid fails

Chicago Tribune
Sears Holdings Corp. is preparing to potentially wind down the iconic retailer after Chairman Edward Lampert's bid to buy several hundred stores out of bankruptcy fell short of bankers' qualifications, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The retailer started laying the groundwork for a liquidation after meetings Friday in which its advisers weighed the merits of a $4.4 billion bid by Lampert's hedge fund to buy Sears as a going concern, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. . . . more

Friday, January 4, 2019

As Videogame Market Shifts, GameStop Struggles to Boost Sales

The Wall Street Journal
Videogame retailer GameStop Corp. is working to restructure its business as it searches for its fifth chief executive in a little over a year. But some say that to stay in the game, the retailer might be better off selling itself.

The company said last year it was reviewing its strategic alternatives.

Sales have been stuck around $9 billion for the last few years as more consumers buy games digitally. . . . more

US mall vacancy rate backs off 7-year high, but more closures from Sears, others on the way

CNBC
The vacancy rate at regional and super regional malls falls to 9 percent during the fourth quarter, Reis says.

Overall, U.S. retail vacancies remain flat at 10.2 percent.. . . more

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Sears’ Eddie Lampert offers second plan for bankrupt retailer

Chain Store Age
On Dec. 28, Transform Holdco LLC, an affiliate of Lampert’s ESL Investments hedge fund, submitted a last-minute bid for substantially all of the assets of Sears, including a portfolio of 425 stores, which it valued at $4.4 billion. The bid doesn’t guarantee that Sears will avoid liquidation. The company and its advisers must determine by Jan. 4 whether the bid is qualified and can move on to the bankruptcy auction on Jan. 14.

In addition to the primary bid, Lampert has submitted a smaller or “alternative” bid proposal, valued at $250 million, that would keep at least 250 stores open and also buy a few other pieces of Sears, CNBC reported. The rest of the company would likely be liquidated.. . . more

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

What do positive comp sales say for department stores? Not much

Retail Dive
Department stores have once again decked the halls this holiday season to lure shoppers into their stores. But as the twinkling lights dim, what's left behind are the same old disappointing results.

But it shouldn't come as a surprise that department stores lag.

The reason is simple: department stores continue to lose market share. . . . more

Sears gets last-minute buyout bid from Lampert

Chain Store Age
Sears Holdings Corp. won a reprieve from liquidation after its chairman submitted an eleventh hour offer to buy the bankrupt chain. But the company’s future remains uncertain.

Sears chairman Eddie Lampert met the Dec. 28 deadline imposed by the company for potential buyers of Sears assets.Transform Holdco LLC, an affiliate of Lampert’s ESL Investments hedge fund, submitted a bid for substantially all of the assets of Sears, including a portfolio of 425 stores, which it valued at $4.4 billion.. . . more