BOSTON (CBS) – At one time, Sears was the largest retailer in the United States but times have changed.
WBZ business reporter Jeff Brown says a world without Sears is a real possibility.
Now known as Sears Holdings, it is telling investors it has serious concerns it can keep on going.
Senior analyst Leon Nicholas with Kantar Retail says this is not surprising.
“No, not at all,” Nicholas says. “No this has been a long time coming.”
Sears recently raised $900 million by selling the Craftsman brand and plans to explore ditching DieHard and Kenmore; but if it does, is there anything left?
“Eventually, not much gets left at all,” Nicholas says. “They’ve certainly got some real estate.”
But the real estate may not be worth much after all and you can blame shopping malls.
“The shopping mall phenomenon is really one that has been diminishing in its importance across the landscape in the past 20 years or so, so Sears’ fate is in some ways wrapped up in the fate of the malls,” Nicholas said.
And then there’s the pension problem. The company has dumped billions into funding the program for years and the hole is still gaping. Sears it seems is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
“It’s limiting their ability to potentially sell assets to continue to fund operations,” Nicholas said. “They may have to sell assets to continue to fund pensions.”
So what is an iconic retailer to do?
“The end game is that Sears as we know it–and its component brands like K-Mart and Craftsman and DieHard–is not long for the retail world,” Nicholas said.
The clock is ticking.