retail news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  French retailer Carrefour has agreed to acquire 224-store Wellcome Taiwan from Dairy Farm for the equivalent of $108 million (US).


•  The New York Post reports that LVMH, which agreed late last year to acquire jewelry chain Tiffany & Co. for $16.2 billion, is looking to renegotiate the deal, which has not yet closed.

The reason:  the pandemic, which closed Tiffany's stores, and social unrest in the US have combined to make the luxury retailer worth less than it was just six months ago.

LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault is said to be looking for ways in which he can argue that Tiffany "is in breach of its obligations under the merger agreement."  But Tiffany management is said to be confident that there is no legal basis to demand a renegotiation of the deal.

I am reminded of the line from Jean-Paul Sartre:  "When rich people fight wars with one another, poor people are the ones to die."

•  Forbes has a piece suggesting that Sears, long on the precipice of collapse, may be closer to the edge than ever:  "The number of Sears and Kmart stores that remain in business could be more than 10% less than the last numbers issued by their parent company, Transformco.

"What’s more, a large percentage of Sears stores have not reopened following the coronavirus shutdown. Given the company’s previous aggressive policy of closing stores it raises the question of whether it has plans to permanently shut down those locations."

The story concludes that "Sears has continued to defy the critics who have predicted its demise time and time again. It has weathered poor management, bad merchandising and a financial structure that seemed to unduly benefit its owners rather than shareholders, employees or, most importantly, its customers. But the coronavirus pandemic may be the one thing it will ultimately not be able to survive."

The day that Sears, once the nation's biggest retailer and a symbol of American capitalism, goes out of business, it will be a sad day.  It also is likely to be the single most unsurprising event to happen on that day, or in that week, month or year.