If Sears (SHLD) Can’t Extend Credit, Sales Could Fall 10%

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Sears (SHLD) is already one of the weakest retailers in the US. Firms such as Wal-Mart (WMT) and Best Buy (BBY) have, in most cases, better merchandise, better store locations, and buying power to get the best prices at wholesale.

That means that in a retail downturn, Sears is worse off than most other large, national retail chains.

Sears could help drive in traffic by offering phenomenal low interest on credit card deals.

The trouble with giving out credit to the poor and middle class in a deep recession is that many people will not pay the money back.

According to Bloomberg, "Almost a quarter of shoppers say banks cut the spending limits on their credit cards, according to a survey by America’s Research Group." The car industry and banks have already figured out that buyers will stiff them at a moment’s notice.

Sears is faced with the options of giving credit to high-risk borrowers to get them into its stores or face sharply falling sales due to the inability of consumers to get spending money.

Either way, look for shares in Sears to fall from their current price of $57 to below their 52-week low of $46.51. It would not be surprising to see that stock under $30 before the end of the year.

Douglas A. McIntyre