Is This The End for Sears?

Sears, once among the most iconic of names in American retail, says that there is "substantial doubt" that it will be able to keep its doors open, and 810/103.1 WGY financial analyst Dennis Fagan of Fagan Associates agrees that "it's not looking good."

Company shares, which hit an all-time low last month, tumbled more than 5% before this morning's opening bell.

Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert's hedge fund has forwarded millions in funding to keep Sears afloat but with sales fading, it is burning through cash.

According to its most recent regulatory filing late Tuesday, Sears Holdings Corp. lost more than $2 billion last year. Adjusted for one-time charges, its loss was $887 million.

The problem, Fagan says, is that companies like Sears and JC Penney, which is closing about 140 stores nationwide, have not kept up with the on-line presence of sites like Amazon.

Ted Potrikus, the Executive Director of the New York State Retail Council, says retailers like Sears and JC Penney had to do some "catch-up" with their on-line presences.  He acknowledges a lot of nostalgia with Sears and JC Penney, but says nostalgia, a petition or hashtag won't keep these stores open.  "Opening your wallet," he says, "keeps them open."

Sears, which employs about 140,000 people, has been selling assets like its Craftsman tool brand. But it says its pension agreements may prevent the spin-off of more businesses, potentially leading to a shortfall in funding.

Sears currently operates stores at Crossgates, Colonie Center, Saratoga, Queensbury, and Glens Falls.

photo:  Getty Images

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