A J.C. Penney Buyout by Sears?

April 10, 2013 by Douglas A. McIntyre

JC Penney - shops
Source: Courtesy J.C. Penney Co. Inc.; photo by Chris Rupert
The talk about the future of J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) has turned to the chances of a sale. The first possible reason is the value of the firm’s real estate. The second is than another troubled retailer like Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD), parent of Sears and Kmart, could buy J.C. Penney and close the underperforming brands of all three. That would leave it as smaller holding company with only successful stores.

The problem with the first notion is that J.C. Penney’s real estate holdings are spread across the nation in relatively small parcels. This makes selling them rapidly or for a predetermine price difficult. And price from region to region could vary wildly.

The second notion may be even less likely. Sears already has proved that its retail management skills are wanting. Selecting the most successful stores, managing three brands that cater to the low end of the market demographically, and setting layoffs along with related charges would be nearly impossible, even for a well-run company.