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Outside the Box: 5 corporate traits that will help investors sidestep the next Sears

It’s been a rough year for retailers. In the first quarter, retail defaults set a record. Since then, every other week seems to bring more bad news. Toys “R” Us, Brookstone, Gibson Guitars

Earlier this month, Mattress Firm filed for bankruptcy protection. Then SearsSHLD, -13.13% . If recent reports are to be believed, any number of household names could join them by year’s end.

We live in an increasingly short-term world. A century ago, the average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500 SPX, -0.55% was 67 years. Today, it’s 15 years. Within a decade, an estimated 75% of companies on the current index will have been replaced.

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