Here's the biggest stories shaping the world of retail, technology and work this week.

Sears Stays Open After $5.2 Billion Bid | Via: Reuters
So, Sears will stay open after all. According to Reuters, Sears Holdings Chairman Eddie Lampert won a bankruptcy auction with a bid of around $5.2 billion. The proposal means that 45,000 employees will keep their jobs, and the existing 425 stores will stay open. Sears had filed for bankruptcy protection in October. The deal still needs to be approved by a bankruptcy judge, which is likely to happen this week.

Regulatory Wrap-Up: Weekly recap of retail-related legislative developments | Via: Chain Store Age
Federal leaders in both the house and the senate registered their support for a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hr and eliminate the tip credit.

As a result of the recently-passed minimum wage increase that went into effect Jan. 1, employers in the state of Massachusetts with tipped employees must now calculate tipped wages at the end of each shift instead of at the end of each pay period.

Democratic leaders in the New Mexico legislature established what is referred to as a “rocket docket,” whereby any legislation that was previously vetoed by former Republican Governor Susana Martinez could be fast tracked through the legislature.

From the latest in wage laws to paid leave, Chain Store Age has a run down of the biggest updates you should be concerned about.

5 Retail Technology Trends to Watch In 2019 | Via:

💻 Customization enabled by tech
📲 ✚ 🛒 BOPIS moves beyond mass market
🔎 Search options expand
👓 Augmented reality and virtual reality find homes in narrow spaces
🛒 Automated checkout / Cashier-less stores

What’s In 'Store' For Retail In 2019? | Via:
From the iconic Toys R’ US, to giant Sears and Kmart, retailers are shutting their doors in the face of financial woes.

According to retail experts, more than a dozen major department store chains, mattress sellers and shoe companies filed for bankruptcy protection in 2018, despite strong consumer spending that otherwise lifted the U.S. economy.
Professor John Clapp with The University of Connecticut’s Center for Real Estate says online sales account for only 9 percent of total sales and thinks this could be the end of an era for giant retailers.

I think that we’re in the middle of an endgame strategy or an endgame process that’s unfolding in retail,” said Clapp.

Shutdown Impacts Hiring | Via: LinkedIn
Hiring is plunging across unfunded government agencies due to the ongoing shutdown, according to new LinkedIn data, which sees a “remarkable divergence” emerging in hiring between funded and unfunded public departments. From the start of the year, hiring at funded departments has maintained pre-shutdown pace, but hiring at unfunded departments is down by double digit percentage points. The partial shutdown, now entering its fifth week, has left 800,000 federal employees furloughed or working without pay.

Tough Road Ahead For J.C. Penney | Via: Wall Street Journal
Faced with an ever-changing retail landscape and declining sales, J.C. Penney is trying to avoid a similar situation to its peer Sears, says The Wall Street Journal. Recent holiday season sales dropped 3.5%, causing the iconic retailer to announce it would shutter some stores. J.C. Penney is trying to recruit several senior roles in the hopes of turning around the company — whose debt was downgraded one notch above junk status last week — although many top positions, including CFO, remain vacant.