Best Buy, Target could win in Sears bankruptcy — unless they're right next door

Posted on October 17, 2018

Sears Holdings Corp., which filed for bankruptcy Oct. 15, wasn’t a big competitive threat to either Best Buy Co. or Target Corp. But the Minnesota-based retailers could be among the biggest beneficiaries if Sears goes away.

Bloomberg’s early take on the possible winners and losers in a Sears bankruptcy counts Richfield-based Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) firmly in the “win” camp. That’s chiefly because of its growing appliance business. Sears, even as its sales dwindled, remained a pretty popular place for consumers to shop for things like washing machines and stoves, and Best Buy is among the chains with a chance of capturing that business.

Best Buy is still best-known as an electronics retailer, but it’s been bulking up its appliance departments in recent years. The expansion both tapped into a boom in homebuilding and smoothed out Best Buy’s own sales in periods when there wasn’t a hot new tech toy. But it also positioned the store as a successor to Sears’ appliance prominence, along with home-improvement chains like Home Depot.

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