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Peapack-Gladstone Financial Corporation Finalizes Acquisition of Lassus Wherley Posted September 4, Peapack-Gladstone Financial Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select Market: PGC), parent company of Peapack-Gladstone Bank is pleased to announce that it has completed the acquisition of New Providence, NJ-based Lassus Wherley, effective September 1,

As a result, the remaining chains are on more solid footing, analysts say. Heading into the critical holiday season, the National Retail Federation raised its sales forecast to a minimum of 4. Previously, the trade group had expected sales to increase by a range of 3. As shoppers cut their spending in recent years, one of the biggest categories to take a hit was apparel. But that trend is reversing, with apparel sales up 5.

Joanne Charles, of Valley Stream, N. The year-old event planner said she recently bought four dresses at Macy's. Some of that extra spending has been fueled by borrowing, which has pushed household debt to record highs, according to Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.

Bovino said that when taken as a percentage of disposable income, household debt is the lowest since the recession. While the 57year-old, who works in hotel sales, said she is buying more clothes and shoes for her three college-age children, her biggest purchase has been a home on the Gulf Coast that she and her husband are using as a vacation rental. She said the property has been booked all summer, "so other people must be feeling good about the economy too.

What happened Things are not looking good for Sears Holdings -- although that's not exactly breaking news. What is news is that it's starting to look like folks may be shutting off the lights at Sears before too much longer. Long story short, the net effect of this deal may be to save the Kenmore brand for posterity. It won't, however, be enough to save Sears stock. I suspect that's the reason why investors sold off Sears shares so hard today. Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Edward Lampert, the chief executive of Sears Holdings Corp.

Lampert sent to Sears's board. The offer, from Mr. Lampert's hedge fund, ESL Investments, is contingent on obtaining equity financing from an unnamed potential partner, according to the letter. Lampert, who is Sears's controlling shareholder, first proposed buying Kenmore and other assets in April. The hope was that the original interest from ESL would flush out other bidders, people familiar with the situation have said. Sears has created a special board committee to evaluate the proposal but hasn't announced interest from any other parties.

The company declined to comment. The moves are an effort by Mr. Lampert to inject Sears with cash and stave off bankruptcy, while allowing the hived-off businesses to grow by distributing their products and services beyond Sears and its sister chain Kmart, the people have said. The company has struggled with years of shrinking sales and deep losses, forcing it to close hundreds of Sears and Kmart locations.

It has already sold off its Craftsman tool brand to raise cash, and Mr. Lampert's hedge fund has pumped in money through short-terms loans. In his letter to the board, Mr. Lampert said ESL plans to work with third parties to solicit interest in purchasing all or part of Sears's encumbered real estate, including the assumption of debt secured by the properties. The deal would allow for the stores' continued operation, he wrote.

Lampert also encouraged Sears's board to reach out to debt holders to gauge their appetite for a restructuring. Penney's hunt for a new CEO is moving fast, and producing results. In the 10 weeks that the department store retailer has been in the market for a new CEO, the company has met a "very diverse" group of candidates, Penney chairman Ron Tysoe told the Dallas News. Among the candidates being evaluated include former CEOs, as well as executives with apparel merchandising background and big-box experience.

The company wants a candidate who is in tune with today's challenges of being both an online and store retailer, the report said. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Seritage said it already used part of the loan to repay an outstanding mortgage loan and unsecured term loan. Sears spun off more than of its top properties and joint venture interests to Seritage in Seritage then leased back many of the properties to Sears. Berkshire has a history of lending to companies in exchange for favorable terms.

Buffett personally owned 5. He made the investment in It is rare for Mr. Buffett to invest in stocks besides Berkshire using his personal money. He said in that he chose Seritage because its business doesn't conflict with any of Berkshire's companies and it was too small in for Berkshire to invest in it. The new loan to Seritage is separated into two parts.

While a combination of deep cost cuts and rapid downsizing may start to stem the tide of red ink over the next year or so, there's no sign that the iconic retailer can get anywhere close to breakeven in the foreseeable future. That's bad news for investors who haven't already fled Sears Holdings. The company is running out of assets that can be sold, and it has a substantial amount of debt maturing over the next two years or so.

As a result, it will be challenging for Sears to make it to the end of fiscal without filing for bankruptcy protection -- and virtually impossible for it to survive past Meanwhile, free cash flow is still deeply negative.

Sears has funded these losses by selling off billions of dollars of assets, primarily real estate. Since then, Sears has been a rent-paying tenant of Seritage -- which has exacerbated the former's negative free cash flow -- although Seritage has recently been recapturing lots of space from Sears and releasing it to higher-paying tenants.

To a lesser extent, Sears Holdings has also increased its borrowings to fund cash shortfalls. However, in recent years, it has only been able to borrow on a secured basis by using real estate, brands, inventory, and other assets as collateral.

Even then, CEO and top shareholder Eddie Lampert has frequently needed to step in as a lender of last resort -- and Sears has had to pay very high interest rates, even for short-term debt. Major debt maturities loom Another result of Sears' deteriorating financial position is that lenders have insisted on relatively short maturities for new borrowings. These upcoming maturities give the company a very short window to turn the business around.

In recent years, Lampert and ESL have shown an inclination to be flexible about extending debt maturities to avoid a liquidity crisis at Sears Holdings. Much of the company's other near-term debt maturities are backed by high-quality collateral such as inventory and real estate. It would probably be possible to refinance these borrowings, given that the risk to lenders would be manageable. This debt is almost certainly held by third parties, not Lampert or ESL.

It's highly unlikely that Sears will be able to extend this maturity or refinance it, given that there is no collateral attached to protect creditors' investments.

Sears also has virtually no chance of returning to positive free cash flow next year, so it will be very difficult to repay this debt. Thus, this maturity could be the straw that breaks the camel's back, forcing Sears Holdings to declare bankruptcy -- assuming it doesn't go bankrupt before then. However, nearly all of those assets are now pledged as collateral to guarantee its debt and pension obligations. Thus, to the extent that Sears can continue to sell assets, it will have to apply the bulk of the proceeds to repay debt and fund its pension plan.

It has very few remaining unencumbered assets that it can use to secure additional debt. Perhaps Sears Holdings can come up with enough cash to fund another year of losses.

Time is running out for this iconic retailer. The Palos Park tool company behind the Bionic Wrench is no longer in line to receive millions of dollars in damages after Sears and its supplier prevailed in a patent lawsuit.

Sears used to sell the LoggerHead product until it introduced the cheaper Craftsman-brand wrench, the lawsuit said. Sears and Apex challenged the verdict last year, arguing that the judge made an error interpreting LoggerHead's patent and a feature LoggerHead used to distinguish its wrench from existing products.

A federal judge who took over the case after the prior judge died last year agreed with Sears and Apex and ordered a new trial. Both sides asked the court to reconsider and decide the case without a new trial. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer sided Friday with Sears and Apex "because no reasonable jury could conclude" that the Craftsman wrench infringed on LoggerHead's patents, she wrote in a court order.

LoggerHead founder Dan Brown Sr. I just can't understand it," Brown said. Sears, meanwhile, was "pleased with the court's decision and looks forward to putting this case behind us," spokesman Howard Riefs said in an email.

Target's online summer sale knocks it out of the park By Deena M. Amazon wasn't the only retailer to break records on Prime Day. Target went head-to-head with Amazon by hosting its own one-day promotional event online on July The summer sale drove the company's highest single day of online traffic and sales for , according to Target.

While the discounter did not provide hard numbers, Target reported that millions of customers shopped the sale, and millions of items were purchased. The event did not require a membership to participate. The online-only event featured deals across most of Target's categories, as well as its private-label brands. The most popular deals shopped during the one-day sale were small appliances, beauty and personal care, baby gear, home, and tech items. Specifically, the hottest items were Dyson vacuums, the Instant Pot pressure cooker and electric air fryers.

Harry's Razors, beauty boxes, baby gear, such as items from Graco, and technology, including the Google Chromecast, rounded out the list, according to the company. The sale may be over, but now Target is picking, packing, and shipping all purchased merchandise.

Target's summer sale overlapped with Amazon's fourth annual Prime Day event. The hour sale, which kicked off on July 16 at 3 p. EST, attracted customers across 17 countries who purchased more than million products. Sales that surpassed Cyber Monday, Black Friday and the previous Prime Day, making this year's Prime Day the biggest shopping event in Amazon history, according to the e-retailer.

Other retailers have also jumped on the bandwagon and created their own sales to counter Prime Day. For example, on July 16, eBay launched a week-long shopping event, one that doesn't require a membership to participate. The seven-day event, which will run from July 23 to July 27, will offer exclusive deals and discounts across the brands it features. The retailer has laid off about people who worked at the headquarters in the latest found of its job cuts.

About of the employees affected in the latest round of job cuts worked at the company's Hoffman Estates support center, Sears spokesman Howard Riefs said Wednesday in an email. The layoffs went into effect June 26 and included employees across various business units and roles, Riefs said. Sears declined Wednesday to say how many people remain employed at its Hoffman Estates headquarters.

The company told the Tribune last year that after a round of layoffs it had fallen below the minimum of 4, employees in Hoffman Estates and its Loop satellite office needed to secure state tax breaks. In his June letter, Lampert said the changes "didn't impact a large percentage of our workforce" and that the employees were offered severance and outplacement assistance.

Since May, Sears has announced plans to close 78 more unprofitable stores after another quarter of losses and slowing sales.

The latest round of store cuts comes on top of Kmart and Sears stores that closed in the year leading up to Feb. Lowe's Companies is shaking things up with a new leadership structure that eliminates the positions of some high-ranking executives. The announcement comes just seven days after Marvin R. Ellison, formerly head of J. Penney, officially began his duties as Lowe's new president and CEO. Ellison replaced Robert Niblock, who announced his plans to step down as chief executive in late March after a year career at the home improvement chain, including 13 years as chairman and CEO.

Richard Maltsbarger, COO, has left the company, effective immediately. Maltsbarger had been with the company since , and became COO in February McDermott joined Lowe's in , and was promoted in In addition to eliminating the COO and chief customer officer positions, Lowe's will eliminate the positions of corporate administration executive and chief development officer.

It is creating two new positions: The responsibilities that formerly fell under the positions being eliminated will be assumed by other senior leadership roles that will report directly to Ellison.

The roles involved in the new organizational structure include: This role will be responsible for merchandising, marketing, digital, and data analytics and customer insights. Bill Boltz has been named to the role, effective Aug.

In addition, Boltz previously held several leadership roles in merchandising at The Home Depot, including senior VP of hardlines. Prior to that, he was with Sears for more than 20 years. The company has initiated an external search for this newly created role, which will oversee the North, South and West divisions, Orchard Supply Hardware, operations engineering, Pro and services businesses, and asset protection.

The senior leaders of the store operations team will report to the CEO until an executive VP is named. This newly created role will oversee distribution centers, logistics, global sourcing, transportation and delivery services. Mike West, current senior VP, supply chain operations, will serve in the role on a transitional basis while an external search is underway.

Ramsay will remain in his current role as CIO. As previously announced, Marshall A. Croom plans to retire from the company, effective Oct. An external search is underway. Bill McCanless will remain in his current role as executive VP, general counsel and corporate secretary. Peace will take another role in the fall. Weber will remain in her current role as executive VP, human resources.

Store-in-store concepts are not new. Retailers use them to try to generate a halo effect from the opening of a popular brand's boutique inside their stores. The hope is that the appeal of both brands can be improved by the synergies of joining forces. Best Buy allowed Microsoft and Samsung to open up mini-stores to attract more customers; J. Penney increased customer traffic after opening Sephora-branded beauty care shops inside its department stores; and Macy's is going one better by combining store-in-store boutiques with the latest hot retail trend, pop-up stores, inside several of its locations.

But would people shop at a Sears store because it had a mini-Kmart inside, or go to a Kmart because there was a Sears boutique? Sears Holdings thinks they will. A one-stop shop In yet another effort to reverse falling sales, Sears is opening a diminutive version of Kmart in a Brooklyn location, while also planning to test small-format Sears stores inside some Kmart locations. The two brands have been together for over a decade, but it wasn't until the retailer was near death's door that it considered this store-in-store concept.

On the surface, it seems to be just as bad an idea as chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert's original concept of merging two failing retailers into one large operation. Rarely does that create a winning combination, and Sears Holdings is a prime example of that.

Still, there could be some merit to the store-in-store plan. Although Kmart sells a number of the same types of products as Sears, the mini-Kmart will feature items you can't get at Sears, like cleaning supplies, pet supplies, groceries, and more. Similarly, the mini-Sears shops inside Kmart will sell appliances. While Kmart does offer some appliances, they are only at the introductory end of the price scale; the Sears store-in-store boutiques will feature higher-end goods, according to CNBC.

If at first you don't succeed The idea behind adding the 10,square-foot Kmart store-in-store is to make the Brooklyn Sears location a one-stop shop for customers.

Instead of having to go to Kmart to get your groceries and then head over to Sears to buy other merchandise, you can do it all in one trip. The store-in-store concept sounds like something that should have been tried a long time ago, but not many people expect it to change Sears' fortunes. It does suggest that Lampert still isn't giving up on Sears as a retail concept -- though maybe he should. Sears' sales have been plummeting quarter after quarter, causing it to burn through cash and forcing Lampert to continuously infuse it with short-term loans.

Like many of his other experiments, this one is too little, too late. However, because the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation had a lien on the asset, he needed its permission to make the sale and agreed to contribute a portion of the proceeds to Sears Holdings' pension plan.

Lampert arranged to allow Sears to continue manufacturing Craftsman tools for 15 years and to receive a percentage of what Stanley makes from them, which will be used to fund Sears' pension obligation. Although Sears is ultimately competing against itself, it did make the best of a bad situation. Although Sears Holdings is attempting to shrink to a profitable store base, I have my doubts that it can manage that at any store base size in the end.

Despite generally closing weaker stores, Sears' merchandise sales per square foot continues to decline and is noticeably lower than its competitors. Sears' sales also are composed of a fairly high percentage of lower margin items such as appliances, so the gross margin per square foot is even lower when compared to competitors.

Kmart's merchandise sales declines have been more affected by store closures though, while Sears Domestic's merchandise sales have been hit by comparable store sales declines.

Store Square Footage Due to the large number of Kmart closures, its estimated square footage has dropped from approximately Merchandise Sales Per Square Foot Merchandise sales per square foot have been dropping for Sears Domestic and Kmart as its comparable store sales decline.

The reason for this seems to involve rent and store size. The negative EBITDA stores referenced above are small sub , square foot locations with relatively high rents per square foot. The large stores tend to be more efficient in terms of cost per square foot outside of rent as well. The implication of this is that if Sears attempts to move to smaller format stores, it will need to do significantly more sales per square foot at those stores to generate positive store-level EBITDA.

Corporate Challenges While some Sears stores may remain fairly healthy and generate positive store-level EBITDA, the corporate costs associated with running a national chain make it difficult for Sears to achieve profitability as a whole. If a particular region was thriving, then it may be possible for Sears to become a healthy regional chain. However, I do not believe that Sears has enough strength in any one region to be able to do this.

The stronger stores are probably dispersed across the United States. Conclusion For the retail side of things, I can't really see a functional path for Sears in the long run. However, closing some of the weaker stores hasn't halted Sears' merchandise sales per square foot decline yet. As well, even if Sears can retain a couple or a few hundred stronger stores, it would seem challenging for those stores to do well enough to support the corporate costs of running a nationwide chain.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it other than from Seeking Alpha.

I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article. It's been more than a dozen years since Sears Holdings was created through the takeover of Sears by Kmart. Unfortunately, the plan to bolster the ailing chains' profitability through greater scale didn't succeed for very long. Sears Holdings never recovered from the Great Recession, and in recent years, sales have been plunging as the company pays the price for years of underinvestment. Last weekend, Sears Holdings unveiled its latest turnaround initiative, opening a small-format Kmart inside a Sears store in Brooklyn.

It also plans to test small-format Sears stores inside some Kmart locations. Mixing the Sears and Kmart store formats in the same locations could help shore up sales, albeit at the cost of greater supply chain complexity.

However, this project isn't likely to keep Sears alive in the face of its ongoing cash burn and massive liabilities. Sears Holdings tries a new strategy The new small-format Kmart that opened in Brooklyn takes up just 10, square feet on the lower floor of the Sears store there, versus nearly , square feet for a full-sized Kmart.

It focuses on selling everyday household essentials like groceries, cleaning supplies, health products, and cosmetics. The idea is to try bringing new product categories into Sears stores. The manager of the Kmart section said that customers had been coming into the Sears store looking for some of these products and had to be turned away previously, according to CNBC.

In addition to making more sales to people who were already coming to Sears, the addition of a Kmart with household basics could also help drive more customer traffic to the store, since these items need to be purchased relatively frequently. Sears Holdings also plans to pilot Sears appliance shops in a few Kmart locations later this year.

While Kmart already stocks a limited selection of entry-level appliances, the Sears shops are expected to carry a full range of appliances in order to appeal to a broader range of shoppers.

Penney There are clear parallels between Sears Holdings' initiative to add small-format Kmarts to some Sears stores and vice-versa and J. Penney's decision to re introduce appliance sections in many of its stores. First, both moves were inspired by customers not finding items they were looking for. As noted above, customers were coming into the Sears in Brooklyn looking for household items that the store didn't sell.

Penney, the company discovered that appliances were the No. Penney's website but couldn't buy. Second, Sears and J. Penney both want to find better uses for unproductive retail space. Both companies have seen a steep drop in sales per square foot over the past decade -- especially Sears -- making it harder to cover relatively fixed overhead costs. Bringing in new product categories and consolidating the rest of the merchandise can help to boost sales productivity. It's too little, too late Adding mini-Kmarts to Sears stores and Sears appliance sections to Kmart stores is something that Sears Holdings probably should have done years ago.

However, given the depths of the company's current problems, this initiative won't be enough to save Sears. Last quarter, comp sales fell This sales decline fully offset Sears Holdings' heroic cost-cutting efforts. As a result, the company is still burning cash at a horrific rate: Sears has enough assets to pawn to stay alive for another year or so, but after that it is likely to face an impossible cash crunch. That doesn't leave much time to test and refine the store-in-store concept, let alone roll it out broadly.

Furthermore, whereas the Brooklyn Sears store is in a densely populated urban area, most Sears locations are in suburban malls, where grab-and-go household products would be less likely to sell well. Penney's move to add appliances to its stores created a significant new revenue stream, but it still didn't drive profit growth over the past two years.

Similarly, Sears Holdings' efforts to add new product categories to its stores may shore up revenue without fundamentally altering the company's dreadful profitability. Adam Levine-Weinberg owns shares of J. The retailer is also in the midst of evaluating a major asset sale. Despite tumbling sales, mounting debts and looming maturities, Sears Holdings is still testing new initiatives to see if something sparks a turnaround.

The latest one brings its Sears and Kmart brands together under one roof. A pint-sized Kmart convenience shop was opened inside a larger Sears store in New York's Brooklyn borough this weekend. The 10,square-foot Kmart sells everyday items including groceries, health and beauty supplies, cleaning supplies and pet gear. Sears will also soon roll out appliance shops selling higher-end merchandise inside some Kmarts, a spokesman told CNBC.

Kmart sells some appliances, but only at opening price points. The moves look to be an attempt by the company to merge Sears and Kmart, capitalizing on the strengths of each brand and bringing the best-selling merchandise to the other. This is also a way for Sears to do more with less real estate, as it shutters hundreds of stores across the U. The plan in the near term is to try out the new concepts and see what sticks, according to the company. The goal is for the Brooklyn combo store to become a one-stop shop, similar to a CVS or a Walmart, selling a wider range of items.

It follows similar moves by rivals Target, Kohl's, J. Penney and Macy's - scaling down the size of a store, moving other retailers inside or opening up a tinier location altogether. Still, the initiatives could be too little too late for Sears. The launch of the new Kmart shop in Brooklyn comes at a time when Sears is struggling to stay afloat, weighed down by declining sales, a heavy debt load and too much real estate.

The retailer has been shedding its assets - recently another round of dozens of stores - to raise cash and try to inch its way back to profitability. But Sears, led by Lampert, argues the company still has a loyal base of shoppers - buoyed by its Shop Your Way membership platform - who come to Sears and Kmart stores for their convenience.

The company said its customers are welcoming the changes. That's not the case anymore, she said. New York is the site of the store-within-a-store trial because Sears has "some of [the] best stores there," a company spokesman told CNBC.

It's a market where we have a long history. If you need any more proof that Sears Holdings is headed straight for bankruptcy court, look no further than its first-quarter earnings report, released May 31, as it gives the clearest example of what happens to a company when you continuously strip it of anything valuable.

That's almost seven straight years of no growth in comps and it shows that customers find little of value at its stores, which include Sears and Kmart. It's a remarkable record of failure. It also announced it had identified unprofitable stores it would close, with 72 of them being shut down in the "near future.

The reason Sears remains in its current predicament -- and why it hasn't yet collapsed under the sheer weight of its decline -- is the same: Plucking yet another fruit from the tree After years of neglect that relied more on the financial gymnastics of a hedge fund operator to maintain the appearance of profits than having any retail chops, the facade was finally ripped away as more valuable assets were spun off or sold off to raise cash to keep the lights on.

In recent years, it has only been because of Lampert's deep pockets that Sears has not already sought bankruptcy protection. He has continuously extended short-term lines of credit after other lenders would not, just to make it through the next crisis point.

Now we're getting down to the end game. Sears has only a few assets left that hold residual value: Kenmore appliances, Diehard batteries, and its auto service centers. Lampert is apparently attempting to extract Kenmore for himself, and if all that Sears has left is to be the neighborhood garage, well, that's not much of a future at all.

In April, Lampert, through his ESL Investments hedge fund, offered to buy Kenmore, Sears' appliance parts business, its home-improvement business, and some real estate, which the board of directors said its was considering. It should be noted that the board consists of just six directors, one of whom is Lampert and another who is the president of ESL. The independent directors are reportedly the ones considering the proposal. Late last month, however, Lampert said he's received "numerous inquiries from potential partners" and he wanted permission to "engage with" them to be able to put forward an even better deal for Sears.

The board had placed limits on Lampert's ability to meet with potential partners, and he wants it to reconsider those barriers. He also said that since he first broached the idea, the cost of Sears' unsecured debt had risen considerably so the debt-for-equity plan originally envisioned, or the debt repurchases, are now not nearly as attractive as they were then and make completing them more difficult.

Although Sears may reap some benefit if the board doles out more leash to Lampert, it's also clear the main beneficiary will end up being Lampert if his ESL Investments gets control of yet another important asset. Seritage is quickly losing its dependence on Sears as a tenant, yet even for those properties where it remains, ESL and Lampert are protected because Seritage received some of the retailer's most valuable properties.

If Sears goes under, it will just be able to lease the rest of the space out at higher rents. Ultimately, Lampert would get to recover a good portion of his investment in Sears even if outside shareholders are wiped out.

They've seen the best parts of the retailer calved off and those that remain look like they'll soon be gone, too. When Sears Holdings has finally been picked clean of its last remaining assets, that will be the point when it goes under. And from the looks of it, that will happen much sooner rather than later. Rich Dupret as no position in any of the stocks mentioned. One of New York City's most iconic department stores is going dark. In October, the department store giant said it was selling the property to shared working space company WeWork but would continue to operate a retail store in part of the building.

But it now intends to pull out completely. On a conference call, CFO Ed Record said the Manhattan flagship would close by year-end, with most of the other closings occurring in the first quarter of The purchase price was not disclosed. Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings Corp.

The new agreement consolidated the two loans with a third existing loan. As Sears continues its turnaround efforts, the struggling retailer in recent years has been cutting thousands of jobs, closing hundreds of stores and selling off assets, such as store real estate and the Craftsman tool brand. The chain announced last week that it would close another 63 unprofitable Sears and Kmart stores, including five in Illinois. It posted a list of 15 Kmart stores and 48 Sears stores that will close in early September, with liquidation sales set to begin as early as June Sears said the list will be updated.

Total same-store sales fell Sears has been working to leverage its assets-and not just its real estate. An independent committee of the retailer is currently evaluating the deal. We believe these initiatives, among others, will help us to strengthen the company and better position it for the future.

Seritage Growth Properties announced today that Sharon Osberg has been appointed to the Company's Board of Trustees as an independent trustee. Upon her appointment, effective today, Ms. Osberg will serve on the Board's Compensation Committee. As we continue to grow and scale our platform in order to execute on our transformative retail redevelopment and mixed use projects, we believe Sharon will offer valuable counsel and perspective.

Osberg worked for 25 years in financial technology development and management. She was responsible for charting the bank's internet course and growing the online business. After leaving Wells Fargo, Ms. She also served on the Board of Directors of The Sequoia Fund for 12 years, holding the position of Chairperson from until retirement. She currently serves on the boards of Felidae, a non-profit conservation and research organization, and Orangutan Foundation International, a non-profit conservation organization.

She holds a Bachelor of Art's degree from Dickinson College. Osberg fills the Board seat vacated by Kenneth T. About Seritage Growth Properties Seritage Growth Properties is a publicly-traded, self-administered and self-managed REIT with wholly-owned properties and 24 joint venture properties totaling approximately 39 million square feet of space across 49 states and Puerto Rico.

The Company was formed to unlock the underlying real estate value of a high-quality retail portfolio it acquired from Sears Holdings in July Pursuant to a master lease, the Company has the right to recapture certain space from Sears Holdings for retenanting or redevelopment purposes.

The Company's mission is to create and own revitalized shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use destinations that provide enriched experiences for consumers and local communities, and create long-term value for our shareholders. It's no secret that Sears' business has been struggling for some time. Best Buy may be one of the biggest winners if Sears closes its stores, in part because of the retailers' overlap in appliances and consumer electronics.

According to the Associated Press, in , Sears changed its electronics department's focus from products like TVs to "connected living" products in fitness, home services, appliances, and gadgets. But in March, it decided to refocus on consumer electronics in one-third of its stores again. When we visited one of the Sears locations that carried electronics, the store seemed to be struggling.

A lot of the shelves were empty, and much of what was on shelves felt dated, including things like boomboxes designed for CDs and cassettes or speakers that can connect to an iPhone 4. Unlike Sears, which is struggling to stay afloat, Best Buy reported 7. When we visited, Best Buy had more of a focus on new technology like smart-home devices. The displays were also more appealing, and the prices were lower on products like TVs, headphones, and phone chargers.

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Forward-looking statements, including these, are based on the current beliefs and expectations of our management and are subject to significant risks, assumptions and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the Company's control, that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.

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Edward Lampert, the chief executive of Sears Holdings Corp. Sears has not publicly announced many of the store closings slated for this summer.

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