Today was a disappointment for Kmart
The current thinking has been that Kmart has a lot of extremely attractive real estate. It's been well noted by many writers here at the Fool that Kmart is the original big-box retailer, having done its discount thing long before Wal-Mart
Ever since Kmart's emerged from bankruptcy, some have taken heart regarding the discounter's role of "land baron," as it revealed plans to unload some of its stores to buyers such as Home Depot and Sears, Roebuck
Originally, the deal got investors worked up by the idea that Kmart might unload as many as 24 stores for up to $365 million; as it stands now, Home Depot will buy 13 to 19 stores for $173 million to $288.5 million in cash. According to the press announcement, "the revision of the transaction was the result of certain closing conditions not being satisfied with respect to certain of the stores."
Investor jitters are hardly a surprise. One prominent question might be: Does this situation bode well for the Sears transaction? (Meanwhile, it's not as though Sears isn't a retailer that's getting beaten up in its own right.) The Sears agreement cows the one with Home Depot, as Sears is supposed to buy 54 stores, shelling out as much as $621 million. The June 30 press announcement said that "the exact number of stores, locations, and total purchase amount will be determined based upon the satisfaction of certain conditions which are to occur within 60 days for the majority of the stores and 75 days for the remainder," so we may find out more by the end of this month.
Even beyond the Sears deal, could a similar situation occur with other prospective buyers? Are some of the stores for sale clunkers that don't match the buyer's demographics or needs, or do they square rivals too close together? We still don't exactly know what turned Home Depot off. Kmart may have some nice pieces of real estate, but what if nobody's buying? Despite optimism about Kmart's cash and real estate, there are still plenty of reasons to suspect Kmart's still on shaky ground.
Read more about the Kmart land grab:
- Kmart's Real Value, by Rich Duprey
- Kmart Lightens Up Again, by Seth Jayson
- Kmart, Land Baron, by Rich Duprey
Did you lose some faith in Kmart's cash-generating capabilities through real estate today? Do you believe rumors that it's slowly liquidating or do you think it's truly working on the turnaround trail? Discuss the retailer's future on the Kmart discussion board.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.