After Sears' collapse, other retailers circle its customers

New J.C. Penney CEO Jill Soltau just got an early holiday gift as she tries to turn around the ailing department store chain: The collapse of Sears

J.C. Penney is one of a handful of retailers that stand to gain from Sears' bankruptcy, which will see the company close another 142 stores even as it fights to survive. Many of those customers will take their business to J.C. Penney, according to Coresight Research. 

Among department stores, J.C. Penney "registers disproportionately high apparel cross-shopping rates among Sears shoppers, jumping from the seventh-most-shopped retailer for apparel among the general population to the second-most-shopped among Sears apparel shoppers," Coresight analysts said in a report.

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Coresight Research

Along with attracting similar customers, nearly half of Sears stores have a J.C. Penney store located nearby, Coresight noted.

J.C. Penney has recently sought to capitalize on the demise of another major retailer. The company in August moved to open 500 baby stores near now-shuttered Babies R Us locations as it worked to claim some of the sales left hanging by 2017 failure of Toys R Us. 

Overall, Walmart and Target are likely to capture the greatest share of Sears' apparel sales should the chain close for good, according to Coresight. Walmart and Target are the most popular stores in the U.S. for buying clothes. Home Depot and Lowes would likely gain some share of appliance sales should Sears fail to recover.

Although Sears has said it expects to emerge from bankruptcy a healthier company, analysts question if it will survive the crucial holiday shopping season, pointing to the retailer's deteriorating financial state.