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Sears Holdings said yesterday that it will sell the Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker for $900 million, and will close 150 additional stores as it looks for any solution to mounting problems that include slumping sales, increased losses, and what appears to be growing irrelevance.

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that Sears "has suffered through several weak quarters and warned Thursday that same-store sales fell as much as 13% in November and December. Over the past five years it has booked $8.2 billion in cumulative losses.

"The moves by Sears Holdings this week coupled with the injection of $1 billion in financing from its controlling shareholder and chief executive, Edward Lampert, helped shares climb off recent lows and reassured suppliers, who had grown increasingly uneasy over the retailer’s prospects."

The stores that will be closed include 108 Kmarts and 42 Sears units; since the company was bought out of bankruptcy by hedge fund manager Lampert, the Journal writes, it "has closed, sold or spun off more than 2,000 stores."
KC's View:
"Uneasy over the retailer's prospects?"

You gotta be kidding. Anybody who has been paying attention has to be outright alarmed by this week's events ... even if not surprised.

The thing is, it looks from here like the moves being made by Sears are designed to provide a blood transfusion without doing anything to actually stop the bleeding. It doesn't seem like the company is doing anything to make it more competitive and compelling in an increasingly uncertain marketplace; if the likes of Macy's and Kohl's are having trouble, what hope does Sears have? (I have to wonder what impact the GOP-proposed border-adjusted tax would have on Sears.)

The Journal writes that "Sears will receive $525 million when the (Craftsman) deal closes, $250 million after three years, plus annual payments over 15 years." Is there anyone out there who would be willing to bet that Sears will be around in three years, much less 15?

Dead company crawling. (And BTW...this isn't Amazon's fault.)