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Your Parents Have to Shop Somewhere

Walmart, Target and Lowe’s are among the top retailers best positioned to fill the sales vacuum likely left by Sears’ bankruptcy filing on Monday, according to retail analysts.

After years of plunging sales, Sears said it would close 142 of its remaining 700 stores as it looks to restructure debt. Sears Holdings CEO Eddie Lampert will step down from his post, but remain chairman of the board.

Just as Toys “R” Us’ bankruptcy created a void in the toy industry, Sears’ store closures represent an opportunity for big-box retail competitors to seize market share, according to a Sept. 21 research note from MoffettNathanson analyst Greg Melich. Home Depot stands to gain an estimated $500 million in 2018 sales from customers that purchased appliances and other home goods from Sears, while Lowe’s could add as much as $330 million in revenue this year, according to the firm’s estimates.

“Not that these retailers automatically capture share,” Melich wrote. “They need to go out and win the vendor relationships and consumer mindshare to take the business.”

Other retail giants that could capitalize include Walmart, which is projected to add $230 million in sales, and Best Buy, with a projected $175 million gain.

Walmart also stands to benefit from an overlap in customer base and store locations, according to research from Cowen & Company. The Arkansas-based retail giant has 740 store locations within a five-mile radius of a Sears or Kmart store, second only to TJ Maxx, according to the firm’s research.

Ninety-two percent of Sears shoppers also identified as Walmart shoppers, compared to 75 percent of Target customers and 56 percent of J.C. Penney customers. Walmart shoppers also have a similar household income to Sears shoppers, Cowen analyst Oliver Chen said.