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Liquidating fiduciary exception to warn

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Last year Lampert set up real estate investment trust Seritage Growth Properties, to which he has sold Sears' real estate -- again, to raise cash.

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The Home Depot has acquired The Company Store, an online retailer and cataloger of home decor and textile products, from Hanover Direct. "The acquisition of The Company Store provides product development and sourcing capabilities to help us expand our online decor business into broader categories across the entire home," said Craig Menear, chairman, CEO and president of The Home Depot. In addition to its success as an online retailer, the company has strong relationships and industry leading capabilities in the development and sourcing of high quality textiles across bedding, bath, and related categories, Home Depot said in a release.Simply because those appliances and batteries are now available on Amazon doesn't mean people will suddenly buy them in appreciably higher numbers.Consumers haven't been holding off on purchasing them because they were only available at Sears; they've moved on to other brands because they forgot they were even on the market.The world beyond Sears After years of refusing to allow its top brands to be sold outside of its Sears and Kmart ecosystem, Sears Holdings Chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert finally relented this year and made deals to expand the universe of where consumers may find them.In addition to the agreements with Amazon, separate deals were made with manufacturers and distributors Cleva North America and Dorcy earlier this year to make and distribute Kenmore appliances and Die Hard batteries to retailers around the world.As consumers are increasingly not shopping at Sears stores, a sale through Amazon or elsewhere is better than none at all.

But sometimes late is just too late, because the value of the brand has deteriorated.

Sears Holdings opted for a host of complex financial maneuvers, store closures and asset sales designed to stave off what many analysts say is now inevitable - a date with bankruptcy court.

But Toys R Us acknowledged it was unable to pay its bills without protection from its creditors and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September.

"I'm amazed that Sears is still around," said Lauren Beitelspacher, a marketing professor at Babson College and expert on retail management and buyer-supplier relationships.

"Right now it feels more like a property firm than an actual retailer." Lampert's financial moves and investments have temporarily propped up Sears, said Stephen Opper, a distressed debt analyst at Reorg Research, which tracks ailing companies.

Last quarter, they tumbled by mid-teen percentages at both, primarily because home appliance sales dropped.