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Sears is now a penny stock

Sears stock has fallen into the bargain bin.In the latest indignity for a once-grand retailer, the sh...

Posted: Sep 28, 2018 6:20 PM
Updated: Sep 28, 2018 6:20 PM

Sears stock has fallen into the bargain bin.

In the latest indignity for a once-grand retailer, the share price fell below $1 on Friday for the first time in the company's history, dropping as much as 15% to 85 cents in midday trading.

Falling into loose-change territory is more than embarrassing. Nasdaq, the exchange where Sears stock trades, could delist the company. That's a long process and would happen next year at the earliest.

Shares of Sears Holdings had already plunged 88% in the past year. They took another blow Monday, when CEO and primary shareholder Eddie Lampert warned the board that the company was running out of time and cash. He said Sears must restructure and cut its debt "without delay."

Lampert pointed to a $134 million debt payment due on October 15, and said the company must demonstrate to lenders by Monday that it has required levels of cash in reserve, which could itself prove difficult.

Sears' market value has fallen to less than $100 million. Lampert recently offered to buy the Kenmore appliance line through his hedge fund for $400 million, suggesting that the Kenmore brand on its own is worth more than four times as much as the whole company.

All of which is a stunning reversal for a company that was once not only the nation's largest retailer, but also its largest employer.

In its heyday, Sears was both the Walmart and Amazon of its time. In the late 19th century and early decades of the 20th century, many Americans bought mass-produced goods for the first time through the Sears catalog. Most lived on farms and in small towns, and had previously made many of the goods they needed, such as clothes and furniture, themselves.

Sears stores helped reshape America itself, drawing shoppers away from traditional Main Street merchants and into malls, contributing to the suburbanization of the country after World War II. And its appliances introduced many American homes to labor-saving devices that changed family dynamics.

But long before the rise of Amazon and online shopping, Sears struggled to keep up with changing shopping habits.

Big box retailers such as Walmart beat it on both price and selection. In 1999, Sears was booted out of the Dow Jones industrial average, where it had been for 75 years. Home Depot took its place.

In more recent years, Sears has struggled just to stay alive.

It told investors last year that there was "substantial doubt" it could stay in business. Lampert's latest warning to the board raised a similar warning. He said it was in the best interest of creditors and shareholders to restructure the company "as a going concern."

Sears has lost $11.7 billion since 2010, its last profitable year, and sales have plunged 60% in that time. It has fewer than 900 stores, down from a combined 3,500 US stores when Sears and Kmart merged in 2005.

In July, the company closed the last Sears store in Chicago, its former hometown. And the company recently announced that 46 more stores will close just before the holiday shopping season.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 727764

Reported Deaths: 13397
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion995211738
Lake53461965
Allen40457675
St. Joseph35506550
Hamilton35489408
Elkhart28433441
Tippecanoe22359218
Vanderburgh22284396
Porter18668307
Johnson17905377
Hendricks17180315
Clark12930191
Madison12592339
Vigo12431246
Monroe11858170
LaPorte11821210
Delaware10648185
Howard9865216
Kosciusko9378117
Hancock8251140
Bartholomew8052155
Warrick7771155
Floyd7649177
Grant7027174
Wayne7026199
Boone6679101
Morgan6555139
Dubois6150117
Marshall6005111
Dearborn579277
Cass5788105
Henry5688103
Noble558883
Jackson500872
Shelby490296
Lawrence4505120
Harrison434772
Gibson434692
Clinton427053
DeKalb426484
Montgomery423588
Whitley394739
Huntington389080
Steuben383857
Miami380666
Knox371890
Jasper363847
Putnam358860
Wabash353379
Adams340654
Ripley339170
Jefferson328881
White313254
Daviess295899
Wells291081
Decatur284292
Fayette279262
Greene277385
Posey271033
Scott265453
LaGrange265370
Clay259146
Washington240032
Randolph239781
Spencer232031
Jennings229549
Starke215453
Fountain212046
Sullivan211142
Owen198156
Fulton194740
Jay192530
Carroll188320
Orange182654
Perry182637
Rush172925
Vermillion168543
Franklin167735
Tipton162445
Parke145916
Blackford134632
Pike133234
Pulaski116445
Newton107234
Brown101641
Crawford99314
Benton98414
Martin88315
Warren81715
Switzerland7848
Union70810
Ohio56411
Unassigned0414

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1081518

Reported Deaths: 19428
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1256551400
Cuyahoga1117782115
Hamilton798901205
Montgomery513291014
Summit47080945
Lucas42049788
Butler38301584
Stark32242906
Lorain24958481
Warren24262298
Mahoning21511588
Lake20618369
Clermont19747238
Delaware18503133
Licking16410212
Fairfield16160199
Trumbull16019468
Medina15247264
Greene15043244
Clark13970299
Wood13065189
Portage12825203
Allen11626232
Richland11323199
Miami10661217
Muskingum8799133
Wayne8784211
Columbiana8766229
Pickaway8551121
Marion8514135
Tuscarawas8470244
Erie7871154
Hancock6906127
Ross6842155
Ashtabula6792170
Geauga6677148
Scioto6405101
Belmont5873167
Union570348
Lawrence5546102
Jefferson5521151
Huron5427119
Darke5347123
Sandusky5337120
Seneca5275121
Athens518858
Washington5153109
Auglaize489584
Mercer480385
Shelby468893
Knox4483110
Madison435561
Putnam4278100
Fulton421669
Ashland421489
Defiance419297
Crawford3970107
Brown393857
Logan381576
Preble379398
Clinton371263
Ottawa366679
Highland354662
Williams338575
Champaign331458
Guernsey315653
Jackson312151
Perry294850
Morrow284639
Fayette281550
Hardin270664
Henry268466
Coshocton264557
Holmes2593101
Van Wert243363
Adams237752
Pike237534
Gallia235349
Wyandot230855
Hocking215262
Carroll191247
Paulding172540
Meigs144740
Noble133337
Monroe132042
Morgan108323
Harrison107637
Vinton82815
Unassigned02
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