Quoted – Sears/Kmart offers to rent Valley stores

This is a row of Cash Registers at a Target st...
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n an unusual move, the owner of Sears and Kmart is publicly seeking out additional businesses to operate in its stores, including several Valley locations.

Sears Holdings Corp. launched a website earlier this year detailing information about store locations available to rent — in both closed stores and ones still open.

Five Valley stores show up on http://www.shcrealty.com as places the company would welcome new businesses operating within the existing stores. They include Kmart stores in Clovis, Coalinga and Kingsburg, and Sears stores and their auto centers in Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis and Manchester Center in Fresno.

“Traditionally when retailers look to do things like this, they usually do it quietly,” said Scott Testa, a professor who follows the retail business at Cabrini College in Philadelphia. “The idea that they would do this in a public forum … is in some ways very unique.”

New tenants could locate within a current store — either a cart or a shop — or in another empty space in a Sears Holdings-owned shopping center.

“It’s basically letting people know that in these locations we have some extra space,” said Sears Holdings spokeswoman Kim Freely. “If the partnership makes sense, we could make some additional retail space available for other vendors.”

Freely used the example of Edwin Watts Golf Shops, which is opening 12 shops inside Sears stores around the country.

It’s not unusual for stores to open within larger stores — think Starbucks inside Target or Sephora’s recent appearance inside J.C. Penney stores.

Although not typical, Sears’ real-estate website is just another form of marketing, said Walter Smith, senior vice president of Grubb & Ellis/ Pearson Commercial realty firm in Fresno.

“They’re just helping to make sure they get as much exposure as possible,” he said.

Sears owns many of the properties its stores are in, Smith said.

When billionaire investor and Kmart chairman Edward Lampert bought Sears and merged the two companies in 2005, Wall Street analysts expected the new company to make money selling valuable locations.

The real estate crash prevented that, however, and Sears Holdings was stuck with 3,900 full-line and specialty stores. The company closed 60 underperforming stores in 2009, but remains a company “that is struggling to find its way,” competing against heavy hitters like Target and Walmart, Testa said.

Testa said the website could be a way for the company to find out if it can make more money leasing to another retailer instead of operating a Sears or Kmart, but Freely from Sears Holdings said that is not the intent.

Smith and representatives from Sierra Vista and Sears Holdings all said no deals for new stores inside Sears or Kmart stores in the Valley had been finalized.

But, said Smith, “it could be happening in our market, and that’s OK.”

http://www.tradingmarkets.com/news/stock-alert/kmrt_shld_sears/kmart-offers-to-rent-valley-stores-980973.html

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Quoted – 6 Old-School Savings Tricks Are Back – SmartMoney Mag

A typical flea market shop, in Germany
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Quoted – 6 Old-School Savings Tricks Are Back – SmartMoney Mag

It’s no secret that consumers have grown more frugal: Excessive spending is out and saving is in.

Like fashion, spending trends often cycle in and out, but what’s interesting about this go-round at frugality is how it’s playing out. Old savings strategies are seeing a resurgence, and some of the most popular tactics – couponing, layaway and haggling – date back to prior recessions.

Will those practices someday go the way of padded shoulders and track suits? It may take years or even decades, but the larger population will eventually end up back in the “greed is good” mentality, says Scott Testa, an assistant professor of business administration at Calibri College in Radnor, Pa

In recent years, bargaining for a lower price has been relegated to yard sales and flea markets, but that’s beginning to change. “Now, consumers are much more creative and frankly, much more aggressive about asking for a better price,” Testa says. To retain customers amid slowing sales, even mainstream retailers are open to negotiation on prices — especially if you can point to better deals at a competitor.

Thanks to the credit crunch, retailers and consumers are looking at these old options, which had faded with disco. “They went away as people bought things on credit and found other ways to pay,” Testa says. Last year, Sears (SHLD: 64.18, +0.34, +0.53%) and Kmart heavily promoted their longstanding layaway programs. This year, they introduced a new Christmas Club that matches 3% of consumers’ savings.

http://www.smartmoney.com/Spending/Budgeting/6-Old-School-Savings-Tricks-Make-a-Comeback/


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