The times are changing
Have you ever tried to explain to a kid what a VHS tape is? It’s the equivalent of explaining to my future firstborn what a compact disc is. Some things get phased out over time. However iconic and familiar, there are few things that can effectively withstand the progressive erosion of an ever-changing marketplace.
In case you haven’t heard, RadioShack Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection only a few short weeks ago. Companies that we view to be corporate Goliaths are still weathering the storm created by our fluctuating economy.
Sears has lost seven billion dollars in the last four years. Fiscal hemorrhaging like that typically precedes… you know, defaulting. As a sort of damage control effort, the company mentioned it might sell a few hundred stores. The infusion of funds from Eddie Lampert, one of the biggest shareholders in the Sears pool, can only get the company so far.
So, what sort of fanfare is signaling the end of times for Sears?
Well, it’s something that doesn’t make complete sense upon first read: As of this month, it is more expensive to insure against a default for a single year than it is for a five-year period. That’s bad news bears. The increase in price means that investor confidence has seen a sharp drop. Things are looking pretty grim.
If Sears has anything in its corner, it’s seniority. The company is 129 years old. It’s got a solid 20 years on some of the oldest people who ever lived. In that span of time, the company has amassed quite a bit of real estate. If they didn’t actually own their properties, they might have had to bow out a while ago.
Lampert, when asked, didn’t seem nearly as phased as a spokesman for Sears presumably was. We don’t know for certain, though, because he plead the fifth, which isn’t a great sign.
Ol’ Lampert’s making it sound like he’s got a trick or two up his sleeve. And for the sake of Sears and all of the folks who are employed by the company, I sure hope he’s not planning some cheesy street magic. He’s going to need a real miracle to pull the retailer out of this slump.