NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I've written quite a bit about the individual and collective woes of physical retailers such as Sears Holdings (SHLD), J. C. Penney (JCP), Best Buy (BBY) and Barnes & Noble (BKS).
As I note in the 2013 version of The Death and Life of Great American Retailers (you can see the 2012 edition HERE), all is not lost at a name like Barnes & Noble. That's not to say the company will make a comeback. It's unlikely, however the potential's there with a wholesale change in attitude and approach.
At a company such as Sears, where redeeming qualities no longer exist, there's probably not even room for optimism. Here's an organization with a leader and, as a result, some rank and file who think the company's on the right track. For goodness sake, the Sears Twitter (TWTR) account brushes off talk of flagship store closings with the intelligence-insulting and blissful ignorance of "You can always find us online".
These guys seem to think closing brick and mortar locations and focusing on e-commerce provides a remedy for years of neglect and a butt whipping at the hands of Amazon.com (AMZN). It doesn't. That's not the endgame. Not at any of the above or any other struggling physical retailer. But, before we even consider what the endgame might be, we have to establish something that might be more important -- do executives at Sears, JCP, Best Buy and such think they're on the way to executing a not merely acceptable, but profitable and successful endgame?