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Pete Bellis via Flickr CC

After two years of disappointing sales, Macy's is looking to cut its losses in a deal with the owner of the likes of Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth. Macy's shares shot up by 7.4% this morning following the announcement of the talks with Hudson's Bay. The deal may also involve Macy's real estate, according to the WSJ, although talks are in early stages.

Tip of the iceberg: This is a classic case of the decline of department stores. Macy's and other department stores have been competing against fast-fashion chains like Zara and shopping culture shifting to the internet where comparing prices is more fluid. Macy's stock has fallen more than 50% from its highest point in 2015, which some experts say is due to many of its stores being stuck in malls that are experiencing declining foot traffic. This has riled up its activist investors, who have pressured the chain to sell its stores into an REIT.

Tack this move onto the latest: J.P. Morgan ranked Nordstrom "underweight" on Friday, and the store just announced it won't stock Ivanka Trump's eponymous brand to cut losses. Oh and Dillards and J.C. Penney also are posting disappointing earnings, and department stores collectively have been reporting falling earnings since 2000, per a U.S. News report.

The (potential) winner: Hudson's Bay. Its market value is much lower than Macy's — compare 1.4 billion USD (1.8 billion Canadian dollars) to Macy's 9.8 billion USD on Friday morning. It might be tricky for Hudson's Bay to finance the deal, given Macy's sizable debt, but it could raise equity and debt against its real estate portfolio, which could be worth $14 billion. It could also bring in a partner to help finance a deal. Keep in mind, Macy's real estate is likely undervalued on the stock market according to Starboard Value LP.

Go deeper

Scoop: Trump-backed Perdue says he wouldn’t have certified Georgia 2020 results

Perdue at a December 2020 campaign event in Columbus, Ga. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue wouldn’t have signed the certification of the state’s 2020 election results if he had been governor at the time, the former Senate Republican told Axios.

  • “Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now. They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn’t have signed it until those things had been investigated and that’s all we were asking for," he said.

Why it matters: There has been no evidence widespread fraud took place in Georgia's elections last year and the November results were counted three times, once by hand.

Beijing Olympics: These countries have announced diplomatic boycotts

Photo: Zhang Qiang/VCG via Getty Images

Several countries, including Canada and Australia, have announced they will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest human rights abuses committed by China's government.

Driving the news: Leaders have faced pressure from human rights groups and others to boycott the Games, pointing to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang region and other abuses.

Biden directs federal government to become carbon neutral by 2050

President Biden speaking to reporters outside of the White House on Dec. 8.

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday that requires the federal government achieve multiple goals related to reducing its carbon emissions, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Why it matters: Meeting the objectives of the order would require a massive investment by the federal government to buy electric vehicles, upgrade buildings and change how it procures electricity.