This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

5 Gift Cards to Avoid for Holiday Shopping

Sears (SHLD)
A Sears gift card a bad investment? How could an item from the store whose catalog was the discount store for much of rural America and whose houses still dot the landscape be a bad gift?

Because it's not the early 20th century anymore, and Sears hasn't adapted well to that fact. Total revenue for Sears Holdings dropped $113 million in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, while revenue year-to-date has dropped more than $570 million from the first nine months of last year. Its third-quarter net loss of $215 million in 2009 more than doubled to $425 million during the past three months. It's more than tripled year-to-date to $743 million from $232 million.

If Sears' merger with Kmart was supposed to help it compete with Wal-Mart (WMT - Get Report), Target (TGT - Get Report), Kohl's (KSS - Get Report) and the rest of the discount sector, those competitors should fill Sears' mailboxes in Hoffman Estates, Ill., with holiday thank you cards for taking that plan in the exact opposite direction. Sears' share price has plummeted more than 61% during the past five years and sales at Kmart for the first nine months of the year are off $148 from last year, while Sears sales dropped by $391 million during that span.

Sears hasn't exactly helped itself by allowing its cherished Craftsman line of tool products to be sold at Ace Hardware and Costco (COST - Get Report) stores or by using its Web site as a sprawling, baffling marketplace that's continually one-upped by Amazon (AMZN - Get Report).

If none of that makes a Sears gift card a bad buy this season, the fact that it'll be a de facto Kmart gift card in the near future should. Sears stores' operating losses are six times those of their Kmart cohorts. The company may have three fewer Kmart stores than it did during the first nine months of last year, but it has shed 26 of its full-line Sears stores in the past year in favor of "specialty" Sears Outlet and Hometown stores.

It hasn't stopped the bleeding and only reinforces the fact that Sears as consumers know it is fading away. Unless you're willing to trade Kenmore stoves for Blue Light Specials sometime soon, the Sears gift card should be a last resort.

3 of 6

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
AMZN $370.56 0.00%
CAKE $48.79 0.00%
COST $150.47 0.00%
EAT $60.59 0.00%
DRI $69.05 0.00%

Markets

DOW 17,712.66 +34.43 0.19%
S&P 500 2,061.02 +4.87 0.24%
NASDAQ 4,891.2190 +27.8570 0.57%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs