Aging stores, fallen flagship brands and overall poor sales have plagued Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD) for some time. Things are only going to get worse in 2012, however.
The company — which operates Kmart discount stores as well as its namesake Sears department stores — has lost money in five out of the past six quarters. Even worse: November marked a stunning 19 straight quarters of sales declines!
Many big retailers like Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) have struggled to find their way as consumers have cut back and are more savvy about getting the best deals. But Sears is in a class of its own when it comes to losing customers and losing money in the retail space.
Sales at the company have dropped every single year since hedge fund manager Edward Lampert and his cronies merged the company with Kmart in 2005. Lampert began focusing on online boondoggles such as an online marketplace in the vein of eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and allowing brick-and-mortar sales to wither and the once-respected store brands of Kenmore and Craftsman to lose relevance.
No wonder shares are off 35% year-to-date in 2011 and almost 60% from the 2010 peak of SHLD stock.
Sears doesn’t have the crippling debt load that drives companies directly into bankruptcy. But it’s certainly on its way.