Sears Holdings is always good fodder for RetailWire panel discussions, and the announcement that SHLD is selling its share of Sears Canada (to its own shareholders?) is no exception. Here’s my point of view:
Where to start? How about at the endpoint of the commentary, where Sears can only be saved by a “master merchant”? If the last ten years have taught observers of Sears anything, it’s that Mr. Lampert will not cede authority to anybody else, as long as he feels he is a “master merchant” himself. And with a number of other companies looking for new leadership (starting with JCP), why would any “master merchant” take on the challenge of a company whose real CEO refuses to invest in the business?
I haven’t shopped Sears Canada for several years, but at one time it was a credible quality alternative to The Bay. (I believe this is no longer true.) The idea of selling the company to its existing shareholders is akin to the recent “loan” from ESL hedge funds to Sears Holdings. It’s a Band-aid where a tourniquet is probably required.
Finally, it’s worth noting in the Wall Street Journal coverage that one company insuring vendors against Sears’ non-payment is canceling its coverage as of October 6th. How many smaller vendors will cut off shipments for 4th quarter, and will the downward spiral accelerate?