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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On December 08, 2016, it was reported, Sears Holdings Corp.'s woes mounted in the third quarter, as the struggling retailer reported its 20th consecutive quarterly loss and another drop in same-store sales. Although Sears CEO Eddie Lampert said Sears is "fully committed to restoring profitability," the retailer's disastrous quarterly performance caused some industry experts to say Sears' demise is now a matter of when, not if. "In the near term, we expect Sears to stumble along and make further disposals to fund the business," said Neil Saunders, CEO of retail consulting firm Conlumino. "We also expect more store closures, not least because both Sears and Kmart have a bulk of leases expiring over the next five years. It is hard to put an exact timescale on Sears' demise. However, in our view, it is now firmly on a trajectory to failure." Sears continues to maintain that it is in the middle of a transformation to a membership-based retailer, reliant on a smaller base of stores and its Shop Your Way loyalty program. For its fiscal third quarter, Sears reported a loss of $748 million, or $6.99 a share, compared with a loss of $454 million, or $4.26 a share, in the year-ago period. On an adjusted basis, the company posted a loss of $3.11 a share. Analysts had expected a loss of $4.06 a share on $4.95 billion in revenue. Revenue fell to $5.0 billion from $5.8 billion last year, with the loss impacted by a decrease in stores in operation. Same-store sales dropped 7.4%, with a 10% decrease at Sears stores and a 4.4% decrease at Kmart stores. The company's gross margin fell to 19.1% from 21.9% in the year-ago period. The company said it would continue to cut costs by seeking alternatives for its real estate portfolio, the Sears Home Services On December 06, 2016, it was reported, two of Sears Holdings top executives left the company last week, again raising questions about the retailer's future. Joelle Maher, president and chief member officer of the Sears chain, and Jeff Balagna, executive vice president, both departed the company. Maher, who took her post in July 2015, was in charge of the chain's merchandising, marketing and profit-and-loss operations, along with the development of its Shop Your Way member-centric business strategy. Balagna joined Sears Holdings in May 2013 as head of its information technology operations.
    • On December 07, 2016, it was reported, the ongoing saga of American Apparel is slowly making its way to a final conclusion. The beleaguered retailer is seeking court approval to shutter nine poor-performing stores by the end of December, prior to the auction of its business on Jan. 9, reported The Wall Street Journal. American Apparel filed Chapter 11 in November, its second filing in 15 months. The retailer wants to close the nine locations because these stores are likely to be left behind by any retail purchaser, said restructuring adviser Joseph D'Ascoli in a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., according to the report. American Apparel already has received a $66 million bid for its brand name from Gildan Activewear Inc. Bids for some or all of the company's assets are due Jan. 6. American Apparel recently notified some 3,500 employees at its California manufacturing plant and wholesale operations that there was a possibility they could lose their jobs in connection with the bankruptcy.
    • On November 29, 2016, it was reported, Bed Bath & Beyond has acquired PersonalizationMall.com, an online retailer of personalized products, for approximately $190 million in cash. PMall.com, based in Burr Ridge, Ill., offers products that can be customized through several processes, including sublimation, embroidery, digital printing, engraving and sandblasting. Bed Bath & Beyond's acquisition of the company expands its existing personalized assortment and offers a complementary portfolio of products that commemorate life events such as weddings, birthdays and new babies. This is Bed Bath's second acquisition of an online retailer in the past six months. In June, the specialty retailer bought One Kings Lane for just under $12 million in an effort to boost its furniture and home dcor offerings and enhance its e-commerce business.
    • On November 29, 2016, it was reported, Canadian-based global office furniture manufacturer LEDA Furniture has confirmed that it has ceased production after more than 40 years. LEDA Furniture, established in 1967, issued a statement confirming that the company has closed its doors following a number of factors that have impacted the business and its operations. The company said that cheap offshore imports, government regulations, high labor shortages and rates have had a negative impact, ultimately leading to the decision to close in October 2016. LEDA Furniture provided office, residential and hospitality furniture across the world, including the Far East, Europe, South America, U.S. and its native Canada from its Toronto-based facility. In a statement, the company said: "This was a very difficult and heart-breaking decision to make but the logistics of manufacturing domestic high end furniture in Ontario is becoming too great a challenge. The increase in cheap offshore imports, government regulations, high labor shortages and rates have had a really negative impact on domestic manufacturing, and have forced our hand to cease operations. Thank you for your past support."