The big retail news today came from Sears Holdings, the company that since 2005 has owned both Sears and Kmart, which announced that it would be closing "at least" 100 under-performing stores nationwide (out of its total of some 4000). The company saw softer-than-ever holiday sales, after several years of declining sales overall. And though the list of store closures has yet to be announced, we'd wager that the always sad Sears store in downtown Oakland basically the only "anchor" type tenant that downtown Oakland has left might be one of the first to go.
Emeryville recently saw the opening of its first Target store (it's technically on the Oakland border), and both Target and Wal-Mart are the main competitors for Sears and Kmart, two older brands which are perceived as being old and tired in comparison have you ever heard that a piece of clothing was bought at Sears and thought that was a good thing?
Meanwhile, Sears has seen softer than usual home appliance sales this year, due in large part to the ailing economy and no one buying new homes. Appliances are about the only sector of the retail business that Sears is still known for.
Both Sears and Kmart were bought up by hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert in 2005 and 2003 respectively, and since then critics have seen his moves as not being especially retail-smart using cash reserves to buy up stock in order to drive the stock price up, rather than investing in giving the stores a much-needed facelift.
The company will be announcing the exact stores to close on its website in the coming weeks.