business news in context, analysis with attitude

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

CNN has a story suggesting that all the signs indicate that this well could be Sears' last holiday season.

Having "narrowly survived its bruising bankruptcy fight just one year ago," Sears does not have a CEO, and soon will be operating with less than half the stores with which it emerged from bankruptcy. "Rather than holiday sales this year, it started going-out-of-business sales at 96 of its remaining stores the week after Thanksgiving," CNN reports. "This suggests that sales and turnaround plans have not lived up to expectations."

What's really sobering, the story says, is that all this is happening "at a time when consumer spending is strong, with unemployment at a 50-year low."

Been saying it awhile. Dead company walking.

KUT-TV News reports that "big changes are ahead for H-E-B stores in South Austin next year. The company says it's investing $200 million to open three new stores. Meanwhile, three other locations are closing – two of them permanently … H-E-B has been operating a grocery at 2400 South Congress since the 1950s. A temporary store will open across the intersection in the old Twin Oaks Shopping Center in February. H-E-B will then close the South Congress store on March 22, tear it down and build an entirely new multistory H-E-B on the property. The company says the new grocery will open in 2022.

• United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) announced it has entered into definitive agreements to sell 13 of its 43 Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores to three separate grocery operators, and also will "close four additional Shoppers stores, which are expected to cease operations by the end of January 2020. UNFI made the decision to not renew the lease at three of these locations and the fourth is being cancelled pursuant to agreement with the landlord."

UNFI has been working to sell off stores - including Cub - that it took ownership of when it acquired Supervalu.
KC's View: