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Now, the retailer’s approximately 68,000 workers are pushing Lampert to set up a financial fund giving laid-off workers a week of pay for every year of service.”If he (Eddie Lampert) can drum up the money for another takeover bid, he can find the resources to come up with a hardship fund,” said Onie Patrick, a laid-off Kmart employee who is part of the organizing effort. A Sears spokesman declined to comment. The fight for a hardship fund has become the new normal in U.S. retail, signaling a growing push for severance pay and benefits in an industry that has witnessed a raft of store closures and bankruptcies.

Sears is among the dozens of retailers like Gymboree, Claire’s, Nine West, Payless Shoe Source and True Religion that have filed for bankruptcy in the past two years, Others like Bon-Ton Department Stores and Toys ‘R’ Us have gone out of business, In the case of Sears, if liquidation is announced, employees will have to file claims with the court for both lost wages and severance that was promised to them, said Jerry Glass, president of labor relations at brooks brothers cufflinks consultancy F&H Solutions Group..

Sears employees will be competing for the limited funds available, with other creditors, investors, and management employees who will be retained to assist in the liquidation, he said. Last year, private equity firms Bain Capital and KKR & Co Inc — which bought Toys ‘R’ Us in a 2005 leveraged buyout and loaded it with billions of dollars in debt before liquidating the chain in June 2018 — set aside $20 million for retail workers, who had demanded $75 million. The fund was an unusual move for private-equity owners, who are not required under bankruptcy law to provide such assistance for ex-employees.

Rise Up Retail, a campaign from labor group Organization United for Respect which assisted Toys R Us employees, does not think that will be a barrier, The group has sent a letter to brooks brothers cufflinks Lampert and other creditors demanding financial assistance for workers, It is also pushing for state and federal legislation that would require bankrupt companies to make severance payments, “Eddie Lampert has picked apart this company and this is about him taking financial responsibility for his actions and the impact that is going to have on thousands of families,” said Lily Wang, deputy director for Organization United for Respect’s Rise Up Retail campaign, Sears workers are hoping a combination of public shaming and political support will move the needle, as it did on Toy ‘R’ Us.”When I saw that Toys ‘R’ Us employees were able to get so much public support and win some financial assistance for their families through that fund, I knew we needed to fight back,” said Gabe Maguire, a Kmart worker whose store is closing in March..

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Mercedes-Benz sold 2.31 million passenger cars last year, likely enough to make it the top-selling premium automotive brand in 2018, although some analysts are questioning how much longer German manufacturers can dominate the luxury car industry. BMW (BMWG.DE), Audi (NSUG.DE) and Daimler-owned (DAIGn.DE) Mercedes-Benz have held sway in the market for high-performance limousines for decades, but analysts warn a shift toward electric and self-driving cars could open the door to new challengers, such as U.S. manufacturer Tesla (TSLA.O).

“The question brooks brothers cufflinks is whether Tesla is the Apple (AAPL.O) of the auto industry and the established premium brands will become the Nokias and Blackberries,” UBS analyst Patrick Hummel said, referring to Apple’s successful disruption of the mobile phone market, where Nokia and Blackberry once dominated, BMW and Audi have yet to release annual sales data, Tesla said it delivered 245,240 vehicles in 2018, The success of the German manufacturers is based on sales of combustion engined vehicles at a time when customers are hankering for newer electric cars with sophisticated software-based infotainment systems..

The Germans are also launching electric cars, but their profits come mainly from sales of high-horsepower diesel and petrol engined vehicles. Mercedes-Benz posted a new sales record last year thanks to an 11 percent sales jump in China, the world’s largest car market, while sales in the United States and Europe fell 6.3 percent and 2.3 percent respectively. Its flagship S-class saloon saw sales rise 12 percent, while more than a third of customers chose to buy a sport-utility vehicle (SUV), and around 25 percent of sales were compact cars, Mercedes-Benz said.

“In 2018 Mercedes-Benz was at the top of the premium segment in the automotive industry for the third year in a row,” Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said on Tuesday, Analysts said the Stuttgart-based company remained ahead of BMW and Volkswagen-owned (VOWG_p.DE) Audi thanks to increased production capacity in China, “Mercedes currently has a significant lead over BMW and it is a two horse race for now, Audi will be brooks brothers cufflinks behind for a number of years,” Nord LB analyst Frank Schwope said..