Retail

BREAKING NEWS: Trump To Replace AG Sessions With Pomeranian

Early this morning the Trump administration announced that long embattled Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was out and a pomeranian called Mr. Big Stuff was inAccording to sources the name Mr. Big Stuff is meant to be ironic given the breed’s diminutive stature.

While news of Sessions’ ouster was not unexpected, the decision to nominate a candidate with neither government experience nor a legal degree was deemed surprising by many Washington insiders. Several other Justice Department officials who did not wish to be quoted also raised concerns that Trump’s nominee was, in fact, a dog.

Rumors began swirling on Friday that Sessions day’ of reckoning might be coming and several news outlets reported that the President was likely to name Anastasia Pomeranian, the Yale Law School graduate and current justice of the 9th Circuit US Court Of Appeals. CNN’s Jeffery Toobin, who first broke the story, said “it’s not clear whether those reports were wrong or somebody just heard “Pomeranian” and drew what in every friggin’ other administration would have been the logical conclusion.” Mr. Toobin could not be reached for follow-up comment as he is reportedly taking a month off to “re-evaluate every thing he has ever thought, felt, considered or believed.”

The New York Times reported that President Trump apparently began considering Mr. Big Stuff last weekend when he observed the dog with its owners Sheldon and Marian Adelson strolling through the main dining room of his Mar-a-Lago club.

According to Times’ reporter Maggie Haberman’s sources Trump told friends “So I’m sitting at the club having this most beautiful piece of chocolate cake with my wife Ivanka (Editor’s note: Trump’s wife is named Melania) and this cute little dog comes in with the most incredible smile and just this tremendous fur and she’s just beautifully groomed and, to be honest, I can’t take my eyes off of her (Editor’s note: Mr. Big Stuff is male). And you know I start thinking the thing with Jeff is he’s always just so surly and nobody likes to talk about this, but he’s losing his hair. So I say to myself why not bring in some fresh new ideas and a great coat and just lighten things up a bit. When I heard Pomeranians were from Eastern Europe I thought I had to have her (Editor’s note: Pomeranians are from Central Europe).”

Reached for comment White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied the conversation took place but said that obviously by “having to have her” the President meant in his cabinet. She added that Mr. Big Stuff has gone through all the vetting consistent with the same policy that President Obama used to promote candidates from other species to his administration.

The decision, which according to reports was aggressively supported by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, became final when they learned that Pomeranians are good with children and known to become aggressive when other dogs challenge them.

Adding mystery to the surprise announcement is that little is known about Mr. Big Stuff’s judicial leanings. In an interview published last spring in Pom World, Ms. Adelson shared that Mr. Big Stuff is strongly anti-squirrel and gets very fussy when “that bitch next door’s cat comes over the fence.” Those reports could not be independently confirmed. While being careful to note that they did not know Mr. Big Stuff personally, many judicial scholars expressed concern that dogs are not generally known for their level of scholarship and legal discernment. Famed defense attorney Alan Dershowitz opined “I think it’s fair to say that Mr. Big Stuff will be on a pretty steep learning curve, not to mention having to deal with all the issues surrounding the Mueller investigation.”

Reaction from Capitol Hill was swift and generally negative. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum weighed in adding “see this is just what I’ve been talking about for years. We keep allowing more and more freedom and before you know it a whole other species becomes a high government official.” Senator John McCain, long a vocal critic of the Administration, upon learning the news simply walked away, shaking his head and muttering what several outlets reported to be “just shoot me.”

This latest controversial White House move comes on the heels of Trump’s picking a new Secretary for the Veteran Affairs Administration (the US’s 2nd largest department) with little management experience and the revelation that HUD Secretary Ben Carson was replaced with a robot late last year.

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Strategy

Sears Holdings to convert most stores to indoor waterparks

After years of fighting declining sales and anemic profits, Sears Holdings (the parent company of Sears and Kmart) announced today that it would convert all of its more than 800 mall-based Sears department stores to indoor water parks. The new parks–reportedly to be called “Eddie World”–are scheduled to open in early 2015. Proceeds from the company’s spin-off of Lands’ End will be used to fund the renovations and re-branding.

In a press release, Sears Holdings Chairman & CEO Eddie Lampert said that the company worked with consultants Bain & Company for over a year to explore strategic options for its chronically under-performing stores. “Our initial review revealed that almost anything would be a better use of all that space than what we were currently doing, but I knew we had a fiduciary responsibility to get more specific,” said Lampert in the prepared statement.

According to people familiar with Sears’ deliberations, the company embarked on an extensive consumer research exercise which took longer to complete than expected as many respondents were surprised to learn that Sears was still in business. Ultimately more than a dozen different options–ranging from what one former Sears executive characterized as “bulldoze the suckers,” to repurposing the buildings as urban contemporary rental apartments (initially dubbed “The Loftier Side of Sears”)–were considered.

According to the press release the decision to convert the stores to indoor waterparks centered on America’s growing interest in family-based entertainment, the convenient locations of the existing units, the relative ease of turning escalators into water slides and what Lampert referred to in the press release as Sears’ “core capability in plummeting.”

Sources with knowledge of Sears’ analysis said that the company also considered, but rebuffed, offers from both Forever 21 and Apple to acquire the stores as part of their expansion strategies. Forever 21 is reportedly interested in piloting a new concept aimed at aging baby-boomers called Forever 39. The stores would feature wildly inappropriately, but more comfortably sized, apparel and accessories than the company’s flagship brand.

Apple, under new retail store chief Angela Ahrendts, is considering launching Apple Mega Stores, where the company’s 3 products would be displayed over and over on more than 200 displays, of varying sizes and configurations, across a wide expanse and on multiple levels. The much larger units would also dramatically expand the number of Apple Geniuses, though the company does not expect any improvement in average wait times or the ability to actually solve your problem.

In a phone call with analysts this morning, Lampert indicated that Sears Holdings is also considering shuttering its entire fleet of Kmart stores. The company recently conducted pilots in Charlotte and Phoenix where it simply didn’t open any of its more than 32 Kmart units in the market for more than a week. According to Lampert “we didn’t get a single call. Not one. No one seemed to notice at all. So we have to really take a hard look at that.”

In pre-market trading Sears shares were up over 11% on the news.