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Is US retail giant Sears heading for bankruptcy?

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The 130-year-old company operates one of America’s best-known department store brands, Sears, Roebuck & Company, along with the ubiquitous Kmart chain, and was America’s largest retail company until 1989.

But the firm has recently found itself in a crisis as it struggles to turn a profit as Americans increasingly shop online rather than in shopping centres.

In January, the company behind the group said it was selling off a major subsidiary and shutting more than 100 stores in an attempt to bolster its finances.

Some analysts believe that, short of a miracle, Sears Holdings will go under within the next few years.

So how did things go so wrong, and can the business do anything to turn itself around?

Sears began life as a catalogue company in 1886 and over the next century grew to become a retail behemoth, selling everything from appliances and clothes to car repairs.

But its sales have fallen from $53bn in 2006 to just $25.1bn in 2015 and it is losing more than $1bn a year.

Neil Saunders, chief executive of Conlumino, a retail research agency in New York, says the firm’s “biggest problem” is that the US retail landscape has changed dramatically.

“One of the fundamentals is that people shop more online and less in malls, which is where Sears’ stores are usually located,” he tells the BBC.

 

Source: BBCB

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