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The Official Sears & Kmart Thread (& General Retail Discussion)

MinnieM123

Well-Known Member
Per the 8:10 PM update from last night, I was surprised to read that they found a buyer. Perhaps using a new scaled-back plan, they may actually save Sears, moving forward.

I didn't shop at Sears very often, but I do know some guys who really liked their Craftsman tools, and went to Sears specifically for those items, down through the years. (Although I read recently that those tools are also being sold in some other stores now, such as Lowe's.)
 

Nemo14

Well-Known Member
Our Sears and K Mart have been closed for quite a while now, to the point that I was surprised there were any left. DH needed a new jacket this year, and he always got them at Sears because they were one off the few places that carried longer sleeve lengths. We were surprised when an online search directed us to Sears, and I was able to order one for him in time for Christmas. I don't hold out hope for them staying in business much longer though, unfortunately.
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
The biggest shock I ever had is when I found out the K-mart bought Sears... not the other way around. Sears has been in trouble for a long, long time. To me K-mart (originally Kresge) which to me was synonymous with "5 & Dime" was able to buy out one of, if not the biggest quality retailer in the world at one point. Face it, just like Kodak, Sears failed to accept what was happening. They could have easily turned their catalog system into the very First Amazon, but, didn't see that far ahead. They dropped the catalog (the poor mans computer) and left that gap long enough for Amazon to jump in there and basically bury any chance that Sears had to get with the current world.

I was just cleaning out some old files of mine and found a folder that had my Sears Credit Card in it. It has been in that file for many years. According to the card I had a Sears Card since 1971. No longer needed or used. I even had to file bankruptcy at one point in time and I could request three things that I could keep. 1) my home, 2) my car and 3) my Sears Card because at the time you could get anything you wanted at Sears and Alice's Restaurant. ( I threw in Alice's Restaurant just for a bit of jocularity in a very sad story.) As a kid, how I loved Sear's Christmas Catalog. It was like getting high. That hard part was to not want everything in the toy section. That would have seemed greedy.
 

Demarke

Well-Known Member
I don’t have much of a dog in this fight as I haven’t bought much from Sears over the years until very recently, but I hope they find a way to salvage the business. Although the business has been suffering for many years, I do really respect that they seemed to maintained a commitment to quality as many of their competitors have opted for cheap and plastic.

Kenmore still has about the best quality and reliability for many of their appliance lines (based on my interpretation of a combination of Consumer Reports testing and looking at reviews online recently). I actually just had a Kenmore refrigerator delivered from Sears this morning and, oddly enough, also received an order from Land’s End too. Now I’m thinking I might need to go by K-mart this afternoon to hit the Sears trifecta! ;)
 

wdwfan4ver

Well-Known Member
When I was growing up, I used Sears Christmas Catalog as one of things to make out my Christmas list back when online shopping didn't exist. Sears was unique to me. Sears had two different types of stores. One type of store actually carried items their Christmas Catalog had the Sears Stores at the Malls did not. I said that because Sear uses to have non- mall stores that I seen there that I didn't see at the Sears Mall Stores. I usually went to the Sears Mall Stores though when I was growing up.

Kmart's in my area started to take a hit in the 2000s, with the final gone earlier in this decade. The only thing is I was surprised Kmart bought Sears a first place. Kmart and Sears was amount the stores I went to as kid besides Target and Woolworths.

My younger brother used to work at Kmart before they closed up in my the area earlier in this decade. Kmarts in my area took a hit earlier in this decade, but Sears did not at the time.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
I wouldn't be surprised if Sears sells off the rest of their popular brands. Craftsman was already sold off at some point, so I think Kenmore and Lands End are next.
Lands’ End was spun off in 2014.

The only difference between Sears and Toys R Us is that someone from within seems to want the company to survive, where TRU's owners were the ones that put the company in debt to begin with.
Lampert has been instrumental in loading Sears down with debt and continues to profit from the company’s decline. Sears even includes this in their own annual reports:

Affiliates of our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, whose interests may be different than your interests, exert substantial influence over our Company.

Affiliates of Edward S. Lampert, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, collectively own approximately 49% of the outstanding shares of our common stock at February 3, 2018. These affiliates are controlled, directly or indirectly, by Mr. Lampert. Accordingly, these affiliates, and thus Mr. Lampert, have substantial influence over many, if not all, actions to be taken or approved by our stockholders, including the election of directors and any transactions involving a change of control.

The interests of these affiliates, which have investments in other companies, including Seritage and our former subsidiaries, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc., Lands' End, Inc. and Sears Canada, may from time to time diverge from the interests of our other stockholders, particularly with regard to new investment opportunities. This substantial influence may also have the effect of discouraging offers to acquire our Company because the consummation of any such acquisition would likely require the consent of these affiliates.

In addition, as of February 3, 2018, these affiliates collectively hold approximately $1.8 billion of our outstanding indebtedness. As long as these affiliates continue to hold significant amounts of our indebtedness, such affiliates’ interests may be different than those of our other stockholders and debtholders.”
 

Smiley/OCD

Well-Known Member
As a child growing up, the Sears Christmas catalog was an integral part of our family's life. We didn't have many K Mart stores near us in NJ, but I do remember the free rolling blue light specials. As an adult, it HAD to be Craftsman tools...they were always the best, and the hand tools had a lifetime warranty. Having worked in retail management, I have seen this happen sooo many times with chains, brands and sectors in general. Sears fell victim to the "we're king of the hill, it can't happen to us" model that bit so many retail companies.

I worked in music retail for a LOT of those years...when Napster started the downloading revolution (and for years before), the major record labels steadfastly refused to accept the fact that this was the way music was going to be delivered...in most cases for FREE. By the time the labels saw the writing on the wall, it was way too late...the business was lost because they were REACTIVE rather than PROACTIVE. No matter how you try, you can't compete with free.

That being said, Lampert's first MAJOR mishap was merging two failing brands together. Straighten one out and prove you can do it, and THEN tackle the next one. He took on two failing companies debt which was the death nell for them. Then when he saw what was going on, he started selling off the most valuable portions of the company to prop up the failing parts. I don't have an MBA, but rule number 1 of ANY business is you don't throw good money after bad. In many cases, the CEO's think they have all the answers having NEVER worked in the "trenches"...sometimes, all you have to do is ask the rank and file...that's why "Undercover Boss" is such a great show.

Again, I'm not an MBA, but what I would have done was to sell off the major mall anchor locations in malls, since they (in many cases, owned the real estate), get OUT of the clothing, jewelry, and other secondary retail lines, NEVER merge K-Mart and Sears and take Sears iconic brands, Craftsman (which they sold off), Kenmore and Die-Hard and create a smaller footprinted store to focus on the moneymakers... In many cases it probably would have amounted to leaving the major mall venue and moving to an anchor position in a large strip mall or free standing location, but they would have still turned a profit. Sears would still be a destination location. With those new locations, they also could have kept the auto service departments, another profitable portion of their business.

As far as the K-Mart portion goes, once Wal-Mart and Target started to go nationwide, I don't think anything could have been done to compete with their business model. One of the just announced locations that is closing is a mile from my front door in NJ...In the 25 years that we've lived in Toms River, NJ, I think I have been in that K-mart MAYBE 25 times. They were NEVER remodeled, disorganized, and just plain dirty.

Oh, well...shoulda, woulda, coulda...I feel sorry for the scores of full time employees that had major chunks of their lives invested in both companies...my next door neighbor lost her job when our Sears closed last year, but DON'T worry about Mr. Lampert...trust me, he will come out of this smelling like a rose, being able to afford MANY trips to WDW after all is said and done...let's just hope he doesn't come to work for us...
 

Smiley/OCD

Well-Known Member
I like your idea. In the modern retail world, it doesn't really make sense for a store like Sears to have much of a mall presence. It probably would have been a really good thing if they moved to strip malls and stopped selling clothes and stuff like that. Too bad those in charge never thought of that. Basically they could have been more like a scaled down Home Depot and Best Buy combo, selling appliances, tools, and electronics.
Exactly, and the reputation of their quality and customer service would have carried them much further than they are now. Toys R Us fell into that same problem...when you're king of the mountain, there's only one way to go...
 

MinnieM123

Well-Known Member
My best memories of Sears was their Candy/Nut/popcorn Department. The aroma made you walk trancelike to their counters. Leave with a little white bag filled with your favorite treat of the day.
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I like that! However, I'm thinking that may have been a regional offering, because none of the Sears in my area had that. If they did, I would have shopped there more often! ;)
 

Demarke

Well-Known Member
It looks like there is still a chance (although probably still slim!). A couple of articles up this afternoon say that Lampert is putting in a revised bid and that a new decision date looks like it will be January 14.
 
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