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Sears, U.S. Century Old Stores Files For Bankruptcy

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Sears, U.S. Century Old Stores Files For Bankruptcy

Sears, known as the oldest departmental stores having operated for about a Century, pioneering the strategy of selling everything to everyone, on Monday filed for bankruptcy protection.

This is even as the company plans to 142 more of its stores adding to an initial 46 which were recently shut due to trade declines and borrowings.

Experts say that Sears brush with death is occasioned by its inability to adapt to the digital age having existed long before the coming of Walmart and Amazon, both of which are doing better.

Sears company had long ago given up its mantle as a retail innovator. It was overtaken first by big box retailers like Walmart and Home Depot and then, by Amazon as the go-to shopping destinations for clothing, tools and appliances.

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In the last decade, Sears had been run by a hedge fund manager, Edward S. Lampert, who sold off many of the company’s valuable properties and brands, but failed to develop a winning strategy to entice consumers who increasingly shop online.

Ten years ago the company employed 302,000 with over 500 stores but today there are about 68,000 people still working at Sears and Kmart – a company that was acquired after surviving bankruptcy.

According to New York Times, the retailer aims to use a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing to cut its debts and keep operating at least through the holidays, according to two people briefed on the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the company’s plans.

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As part of the reorganization plan, the company is to receive a loan of more than $500 million to help keep its shelves stocked and employees paid, these people said.

“It’s a sad day for American retail,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail research and consulting firm. “There are generations of people who grew up on Sears and now it’s not relevant. When you are in the retail business, it’s all about newness. But Sears stopped innovating.”

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Founded shortly after the Civil War, the original Sears, Roebuck & Company built a catalog business that sold Americans the latest dresses, toys, build-it-yourself houses and even tombstones. In their heyday, the company’s stores, which began to spread across the country in the early 20th century, were showcases for must-have washing machines, snow tires and furniture.

More recently, Sears became known for another distinction — Mr. Lampert’s audacious feats of financial engineering. He has spun off numerous assets from the retailer into separate companies that his hedge fund invests in.

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Business News

Boeing Shares Continue To Slide As Countries Ground 737 MAX Planes

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Boeing Shares Continue To Slide As Countries Ground 737 MAX Planes

Boeing shares have continued to slide on Tuesday as a growing list of countries move to ground the aircraft manufacturer’s 737 MAX model jets after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight on Sunday killing a hundred fifty-seven persons.

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Boeing’s stock price has fallen nearly twelve percent since the accident, erasing roughly twenty-eight billion dollars in value amid concerns the accident could have links to last October’s crash of a 737 MAX 8 operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air. A hundred eighty-nine persons died in that one.

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Although experts warn that it’s too early to know what caused the Ethiopian Airlines crash, both crashes occurred shortly after takeoff. Experts say, that suggests a possible connection.

Bloomberg reports the Boeing 737 is the best selling aircraft in history.  The MAX is its newest version, with more fuel-efficient engines.  It is also generates almost one-third of the airline maker’s operating profit.

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SA Banks Stop Supply Of US Dollars To Zimbabwe

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SA Banks Stop Supply Of US Dollar To Zimbabwe

South African banks have stopped supplying Zimbabwe with U.S Dollar notes saying they want to avoid risk. They cite Zimbabwe`s loss of a hundred correspondent banking relationships in the past few years because of the country`s high risk rating.

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South African banks have been the major sources of U.S dollars for Zimbabwe since 2009.

Zimbabwe Reserve Bank Director, William Wanimanzi says the development is a result of the country`s failure to follow proper dollarization procedures, signs of which he said are now catching up with the country`s fragile economy. He said the country is not officially dollarized because it does not have an agreement with the United States government to use its currency. He says this will make it difficult to take in cash into the economy.

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Zimbabwe Central Bank Abandons Quasi Dollar

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Zimbabwe Central Bank Abandons Quasi Dollar

Zimbabwe Central Bank has abandoned the quasi dollar it introduced in 2016.  The peg of one Zimbabwe dollar to one US dollar has not worked as the black market rate has been in the range of three and a half to four Zimbabwe dollars to one U.S. dollar.

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Economists say this move could lead to jitters in countries that hold the peg, including Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong.

Zimbabwe has long been dealing with currency instability that in 2009, it introduced the US dollar, euro, and the South African rand as legal tenders it thought would stem the wild round of hyper-inflation.

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