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The price of insuring $10 million of Sears bonds for five years just rose to a record $4.6 million annually last week, up from $3.3 million in September, per the WSJ.

Quick take: Insurers are smelling a bad deal with Sears, and today shares fell 5.23%.

Data: Money.net

Sears' underlying business model doesn't promise a turnaround from its disappointing performance in the last decade, either. It's true that the retail industry has seen better days as shoppers are increasingly turning to online shopping — but Sears has problems of its own:

  • Sears lost $8.2. billion since fiscal year 2011, with total sales falling about 40%, and its stock has been cratering for about a decade
  • Its CFO stepped down last year, and CEO Edward Lampert hired Citigroup and LionTree Advisors to help plan for the future
  • It has been selling its assets to fund its losses up to $2 billion annually, like the recent brand name Craftsman sale to Stanley Black & Decker for $900 million
  • Sears will also sell 109 Kmart and Sears stores this year, just like it sold 78 stores last year and 200 the year before

Why it matters: This trend of selling assets and stores is a short-term strategy to stay above water. This strategy may even undermine what could lead to long-term success : particularly for Sears, its household brand names like Kenmore, Sears Home Services, Sears Auto Centers, and Die Hard give the Sears name value, per Forbes. Shedding those brands may boost cash flow, but takes away from the value Sears has to offer in the first place.

Go deeper

35 mins ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

14 hours ago - Economy & Business

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.