It's going to go from bad to worse for mall-based retailers, at least in the eyes of the stock market.
Shares of the biggest names tethered to malls across the country have crashed this week amid strikingly weak first quarter results. In effect, already lagging stock prices for the likes of Macy's (M) - Get Report , J.C. Penney (JCP) - Get Report and Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) have made new moves lower on fears the retailers won't be able to successfully navigate the shift to online shopping.
As a result, investors may now be wagering that retailers will be forced to announce a fresh round of store closures and layoffs sometime in early 2018 to cut costs. For some highly indebted names such as Sears, and to a lesser extent J.C. Penney, the volatile operating backdrop could be stoking concerns on whether the businesses will be around in five years time.
The stock sell-offs have become so brutal that teen apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) - Get Report confirmed it's trying to sell itself to the highest bidder (weeks before it's set to report first quarter earnings).
To be sure, the holiday season couldn't get here fast enough for any of these guys.
Five-Day Stock Price Performance
J.C. Penney: -18.2%
Editors' pick: Originally published May 12.