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    • On September 30, 2016, it was reported, Sears Holdings is at risk of defaulting on its debt, making it a prime candidate for a bankruptcy filing, according to an analysis by Fitch Ratings. Sears' current debt consists of more than $1.1 billion in high-yield bonds and $1.7 billion in loans, according to the ratings agency. Based on an analysis of the debt levels involved in recent retail bankruptcies and liquidationsincluding that of Circuit City, Gottschalks and Linens 'n Things, and bankruptcies such as Boscov's. The report concluded that Sears faces "significant default risk" in the next 12 to 24 months. On September 19, 2016, it was reported, Sears Holding Corp. plans to shutter additional Kmart stores in at least 13 states by mid-December, Business Insider reports, using information from store employees and financial filings. The wave of closures comes after Sears already announced that it would close 68 Kmart and 10 Sears stores nationwide this summer. Investment research firm Moody's last week singled out Kmart as especially troubling for Sears, noting that recent downbeat ratings of the company "reflect our view on the uncertainty of the viability of the Kmart franchise in particular given its meaningful market share erosion."
    • On September 29, 2016, it was reported, the chief executive of Stein Mart has stepped down after only some six months on the job. The off-price retailer announced that Dawn Robertson resigned as CEO and as director of the company's board, effective Sept. 27, 2016. She also served as chief merchandising officer. Stein Mart president and CEO D. Hunt Hawkins, a 20-year company veteran, was named interim CEO. Robertson was appointed CEO of Stein Mart in March 2016. She succeeded Jay Stein, the company's founder and long standing CEO, who remains chairman. Prior to joining Stein Mart, Robertson was the chief executive or president of several other retail companies, including UNKNWN, Deb Shops, Nygard International and The Avenue. Prior to that, she held various executive positions at Old Navy, Myer Stores, Federated Department Stores, Saks and May Department Stores. Stein Mart, which operates 282 stores, gave no reason for Robertson's abrupt exit. But in the release announcing her departure, it gave a preview of its third quarter and said same-store sales were down approximately 4%, and noted "missteps." Also, interim CEO Hawkins stated: "We believe that several of the new merchandising strategies that have been developed this year will positively impact our future sales. However, implementation has been too rapid and has been challenging for our customers. It is important that we remain focused on meeting the needs of our existing customers as we drive change." Hawkins, 57, started his career with Stein Mart as senior VP, human resources and was promoted to executive VP of operations in 2006. He went on to assume positions of increasing responsibility was named president and COO in 2014.
    • On September 29, 2016, it was reported, American Eagle continues to strengthen its management team to further drive its growth. Bob Madore has been appointed executive VP and CFO, starting Oct. 28. In his new role, Madore will oversee all aspects of finance, merchandise planning and allocation, and investor relations. He will report to American Eagle's CEO Jay Schottenstein. Most recently, Madore served as senior VP, CFO at Ralph Lauren. Since 2004, he has served in various senior management roles at Ralph Lauren, where he was instrumental in growing its global business across multiple channels, concepts and product categories. Prior to that, Madore served in senior finance and retail operational roles at Nine West Group and New York and Company.
    • On September 28, 2016, it was reported, in order for its $17 billion deal with Rite Aid Corporation (RAD) to close, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) must meet regulatory requirements, which calls for either selling or closing up to 1,000 stores. The exact number of stores Walgreens is attempting to sell is 650, however nobody is biting. Regardless of this dilemma, Walgreens still expects its Rite-Aid deal to close in the second half of this year. According to the New York Post, private equity firms are not interested in the aforementioned Walgreens stores because they don't see those them as high quality prospects. This doesn't mean Walgreens stores themselves are low quality, but it likely refers to poor locations, which is the most important factor for any brick-and-mortar retailer, including drugstores. It has been reported that Walgreens and CVS Health Corporation (CVS) met with the Federal Trade Commission last week, and that CVS would buy some Walgreens stores as long as they were not in areas where they competed with CVS stores. CVS wants to avoid cannibalization. While it's possible a deal like this could come to fruition, Walgreens would probably much rather have one buyer for the 650 stores it wants to sell. If the Walgreens/Rite-Aid deal is approved, it would form the largest drugstore operation in the country, and that new company would have 46% market share. Therefore, you can't rule out the possibility that CVS will up its offer and buy more than "some" Walgreens stores. However, this isn't probable since the stores Walgreens wants to divest aren't likely to be the best locations. Read more: Seeking Buyer: 650 Walgreens Stores (WBA) | Investopedia