Sears sees more small stores in its future

Business


New Jersey’s Willowbrook Mall, which is owned by General Growth Properties, has a “Next Generation” Sears store. The freed-up space will be filled with one of the area’s first Dave & Buster’s arcade restaurants, along with a handful of other tenants that haven’t yet been announced.

In pursuing this redevelopment, GGP will be able to boost a key “sales-per-square-foot” metric at Willowbrook, and likely all other malls where the revamps take place.

“Seritage, Simon and GGP have been at the forefront of redeveloping Sears’ anchor boxes,” Boenning & Scattergood analyst Floris van Dijkum told CNBC. “And they’ve been achieving high returns.”

In its fiscal third-quarter release, Sears said its efforts have led to improved financial performance. Next year, the company said it expects to reach positive adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Still many have their doubts. Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, called Sears “a dying business.”

“For all the criticism we throw at Sears, it is only fair to give praise to the initiatives the group is taking to try and bring itself back,” he said. “While we do not have much faith that these things will be sufficient to revive the company’s fortunes, it does not mean to say that they are entirely without merit.”



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