After financier Edward Lampert ruined the futures of Sears and Kmart, together their number of locations dropped to 182. Media research currently puts that figure as low as 95, which may shrink soon. New owner Transformco may well not have any viable stores in 2021. Foot traffic to retailers has plunged recently, and the weakest chains likely will get the worst of it.
The National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics have released their figures for the Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday period. In-store shoppers declined 55% on Thanksgiving Day compared to last year. Black Friday numbers were down 37%.
E-commerce continues to pull consumers from brick-and-mortar locations to online purchases. Online shoppers topped 100 million on Black Friday, which was 8% higher than last year. The National Retail Federation did not mention Amazon.com, but, without question, it affected shopping patterns.
Prosper Insights & Analytics Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist remarked: “The growth in online activity this year was significant, particularly for Black Friday and Saturday shoppers. With the start to the holiday shopping season continuing to move up even earlier, consumers will further utilize these channels.”
The decision to form a company to oversee both Sears and Kmart dates back 15 years. The plan could come to an end if holiday foot traffic to the few remaining locations is poor.