business news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• Sears announced that it will close its last store in the city of Chicago - a place that, as USA Today writes, it has “called home or been closely connected to for 120 years.”

While Sears has been closing a lot of stores, the story notes that “the shuttering of the last Sears in Chicago is especially poignant. The city has been tied to the retailer's identity since it first moved its headquarters there from Minnesota in 1887 and later put its stamp on the city's skyline with the Sears Tower, the tallest building in the world when it became Sears' corporate base in 1973.”

Sears reportedly will continue to operate stores in the suburbs.

The story also says that the Sears store being closed “is part of a batch of 265 Sears and Kmart locations that were purchased by the real estate investment trust Seritage Growth Properties in 2015, then leased back by the retailer. An investment firm owned by Eddie Lampert, Sears Holdings' CEO, has a significant ownership stake in Seritage.”

Gee. That last bit is such a surprise.

• The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that “Giant Eagle has committed to a deal to put Ace Hardware sections inside some of its locations. Four stores will be remodeled to accommodate home improvement supplies,” with the first one to be opened by summer.

The goal, a company spokesperson says, is to "continue to innovate both within and outside of our supermarkets to succeed in our increasingly competitive food retail environment.”

I’m not sure that selling hammers and screw drivers is the best way for a food store to differentiate itself. But maybe that’s just me.
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