They’re trying to get their finances in order, but a not-so-good Black Friday certainly didn’t help that aim.
Here’s where they’re at:
Sears Holdings Corp. says Sears Black Friday traffic was down from last year.
The working theory at Sears is that people didn’t pick Sears as their go-to Black Friday store for their Christmas lists, but rather shopped at stores based on individual deals. So rather than starting and ending their lists at Sears, they’d just come for one or two items.
Sears also says ongoing sales in November and December allow for customers to skip Black Friday.
But online opportunities weren’t to blame, as Sears e-Commerce revenues dropped 17% the week before Thanksgiving, 47% on Thanksgiving/Black Friday, and 5% on Cyber Monday over 2017.
Discounts were lackluster during Black Friday at Sears — mostly focused on winterwear and appliances.
In the wake of its bankruptcy, Sears is trying to financially stay afloat as a company.
Unfortunately for the customers, that meant there were not very many deals. For example, some Kenmore refrigerators that were marked 50% off last year were only 35-40% off this year.
The best deals were on boots and puffer coats, with savings of up to 75% — and apparently it wasn’t enough to move the needle.
Sears will be selling 505 stores and leases as a group early next year.
This move to reduce expenses appears to be a last-ditch effort to making Sears profitable again — or at the very least, stay alive.
They hope that by paring down to the most profitable stores, they can get back on their feet.
They do have a list of 182 stores closing by February 2019, but it doesn’t look like that includes every location that’s going to close.
They’re asking their property landlords for lower rent.
In order to reduce overhead for their remaining stores, Sears is trying to negotiate reduced rent.
There’s a good chance they’ll have success, as many Sears locations are anchor locations in malls — and malls are pretty squeamish about a growing number of empty storefronts.
Liquidation sales started in October and will continue to roll out at stores.
Black Friday deals were underwhelming, and so far, there hasn’t been much to get excited about with regard to Sears’ liquidation sales. While most clothes and shoes can hit 50% off regular prices, tools have only hit 10-20% off and top appliances only drop 40%.
Liquidators often mark UP inventory to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price at first, and then discount from there, so buyer beware early on.
If your store is one of those marked for closure, you’ll want to call or stop by to find out their specific clearance schedule.
Cyrus Capital Partners is loaning $350 million to Sears.
When Sears filed for bankruptcy, they got $300 million, so they’re up to $650 million now in loan money, which will help keep operations going while the company is trying to figure out what’s next (selling and/or liquidating).