Business analysts, media intelligence, and one of America’s oldest retailers

A hypothetical analysis could predict trouble for Sears, one of America’s oldest retailers. According to the Cowen Group’s John Kernan, “Sears could be close to calling it quits”.

Kernan’s remarks are attributed to the latest Sears decision to sell all, or parts of Sears Canada. This story is covered in detail by the New York Times.

Other news outlets, such as CNN, have published stories citing similar trends and analysis, like Sears: ‘Burning cash,’ closing stores.

Kernan has been cited by CNN, saying “They have too many stores and they’re losing a lot of money, burning cash.” He continued “They’re basically completely irrelevant”.

Since May 15, 2014, John Kernan has been cited in 80 on-air television mentions. 54 DMAs (designated market areas), or a quarter of all U.S. television markets have also covered the story. The total national TV audience of those on-air mentions was 1,832,164. 

 sears graph

Since Kernan’s statement aired, share prices fell 3.37% immediately after the market opened, but quickly recovered. The last television mention citing John Kernan was out of Champaign, Illinois at 7:50 CST.

At its height, Sears was the country’s biggest retailer. Today, Sears has a number of competitors, from Home Depot and Wal-Mart, to Target and Amazon.

Another contributing analyst to CNN, Brian Sozzi, CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, said to CNN that he expects that there will be more Sears closings without any formal announcement.

Using the Critical Mention media monitoring platform, we were able to uncover several mentions from local news outlets covering the closing of individual stores.

For example, when searching Critical Mention on the keywords “closes, closing, or close” with the following brands:  Target, Walmart, Sears, JCPenney and Kmart, analysts can better predict and comment on what’s being mentioned about these brands in the past 30 days on TV:

  • Target: 7 mentions, with store closing(s) around Dayton, Ohio (Middletown and Trotwood)
  • Walmart: 19 mentions (no reported store closings)
  • Sears: 200 mentions (100 stores closed last year)
  • JC Penney: 6 mentions (store closings at Selma, Phillipsburg and Wausau Malls with a reported 33 more to follow in 2014)
  • Kmart – 17 mentions (store closing in Mason City, Iowa and others in mid-Michigan)

These local stories impact small communities and individual store closings that usually never impact national programming. With speculation surrounding the closing of several hundred stores, Sears will continue to gain national media coverage, and the sentiment may remain negative.