4 Stores on the Brink in 2013

Best Buy, JC Penney, Sears, RadioShack have their work cut out for them
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2012 11:36 AM CST
4 Stores on the Brink in 2013
People walk in the parking lot of a Best Buy store during a severe snow storm in North Olmsted, Ohio Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012.   (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

The retail world is changing, and some old-school giants are struggling to change with it. Today the Wall Street Journal took a look at four companies facing a do-or-die 2013:

  • Best Buy: People still go to Best Buy … to look at things they intend to buy on Amazon later. It's a phenomenon called "showrooming," and the chain blames it, in part, for the fact that sales have fallen in eight of its last nine quarters. The glimmer of hope? Its site was one of the three most-visited over Thanksgiving weekend.

  • JC Penney: The company is trying to reinvent its old-fashioned image, and its reliance on heavy discounting. Customers haven't reacted well. Sales fell 23% in nine months, and half its cash reserve disappeared. It's counting on its new strategy—which includes opening boutiques for brands like Martha Stewart Home and Izod in its stores—to turn things around.
  • RadioShack: The 'Shack bet big on mobile phones and tablets, but because those products have thinner margins than its old bread-and-butter camera and computer offerings, its profits have plunged. The worst part: Its deal to run Target's mobile business returned a $38 million loss in the first three quarters of 2012.
  • Sears: Revenue has been falling for years, but the company has coped by selling off parts of itself. Now analysts are waiting for the next piece to go up for sale—maybe Lands' End?—and wondering how much more there is to sell. Still, there are a few levers left to pull: The company is working to better integrate its online and retail offerings and make better use of its massive loyalty program.
Click for more on the retail giant that got rave reviews again this year. (More Wall Street Journal stories.)

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