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

iHeartDisneylandCats

Proud Member Since 2016
Original Poster
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I wonder what will happen to all of the Sears and Kmarts that have closed or are going to close. I imagine that in higher end malls with lots of stores, some other chain will fill in most of the vacant Sears locations. But I wonder what will happen to the struggling malls. Either this will help dying malls to turn around or it will be the death sentence for many malls that already have few stores. I assume the Kmarts will mostly be repurposed into other retail.
 

Smiley/OCD

Well-Known Member
This is the info. from CNBC...the bankruptcy judge is giving Lampert until tomorrow, Wed. 1/9 at 4 pm EST to pay a 120M deposit to allow him to compete with other liquidators to keep the chain operating. An auction will be held Monday where his company will have an opportunity to bid on the chain.

As to what will become of the shuttered stores, our mall in Ocean County, NJ, owns the building....it's getting torn down and rebuilt and re-purposed for a mix of retail, restaurants and multi use options (whatever that means). The Sears store in Freehold, NJ, which is still open, leased the second floor of the store to Primark, a UK clothing retailer. I think in many large malls, the buildings will come down. There really is no retailer that can utilize the large square footage of a traditional Sears store. As far as the K-Marts go, I think there will be a LOT of empty stores throughout the US for a LONG time.
 

iHeartDisneylandCats

Proud Member Since 2016
Original Poster
This is the info. from CNBC...the bankruptcy judge is giving Lampert until tomorrow, Wed. 1/9 at 4 pm EST to pay a 120M deposit to allow him to compete with other liquidators to keep the chain operating. An auction will be held Monday where his company will have an opportunity to bid on the chain.

As to what will become of the shuttered stores, our mall in Ocean County, NJ, owns the building....it's getting torn down and rebuilt and re-purposed for a mix of retail, restaurants and multi use options (whatever that means). The Sears store in Freehold, NJ, which is still open, leased the second floor of the store to Primark, a UK clothing retailer. I think in many large malls, the buildings will come down. There really is no retailer that can utilize the large square footage of a traditional Sears store. As far as the K-Marts go, I think there will be a LOT of empty stores throughout the US for a LONG time.
I could also see a lot of the Sears locations becoming mall expansions. Basically, they could expand the common areas into the former Sears and put a bunch of smaller stores inside.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
In many cases, Sears no longer owns their buildings. The company’s real estate interests were spun off as Seritage. Seritage is pushing out Sears locations to lease to other stores, another example of how Lampert profits from Sears’ demise.

Beyond being the big draw, another factor for why anchor stores closing is problematic is that in many cases they are not owned by the mall, but the anchor. The mall cannot just repurpose the space since they do no own the space.
 
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TwilightZone

Well-Known Member
I wonder what will happen to all of the Sears and Kmarts that have closed or are going to close. I imagine that in higher end malls with lots of stores, some other chain will fill in most of the vacant Sears locations. But I wonder what will happen to the struggling malls. Either this will help dying malls to turn around or it will be the death sentence for many malls that already have few stores. I assume the Kmarts will mostly be repurposed into other retail.
I watch a lot of dead mall videos and they say replacing sears can either make or break a mall.
By this, they mean if a successful mall replaces Sears with something good, then they can still stay as successful as they are now.
But if the mall fails, it could loose some customers potentially.
Also for a lot of dead malls, this is a death sentence for sure.
 
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wdwfan4ver

Well-Known Member
I wonder what will happen to all of the Sears and Kmarts that have closed or are going to close. I imagine that in higher end malls with lots of stores, some other chain will fill in most of the vacant Sears locations. But I wonder what will happen to the struggling malls. Either this will help dying malls to turn around or it will be the death sentence for many malls that already have few stores. I assume the Kmarts will mostly be repurposed into other retail.
My younger brother worked at 2 Kmarts and the first one was not repurposed into retail. It was turned into a training and Education Center.

I can tell you that the Sears that closed in a mall in the suburbs was turned into ****'s Sporting goods, Golf Galaxy, Round 1, and T.J. Maxx. Round 1 is an amusement center and bar with bowling, karaoke, billiards and arcade games. Sears Anchor as a store took up two floors in the mall.

The problem with that mall in question is they lost Boston Store, and Kohl's Department Store besides Sears since 2017 and still have two other anchors in J.C. Penny's and Macy's. What happened to Kohl's is they moved to a smaller location outside of the mall.
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
I watch a lot of dead mall videos and they say replacing sears can either make or break a mall.
By this, they mean if a successful mall replaces Sears with something good, then they can still say as successful as they are now.
But if the mall fails, it could loose some customers potentially.
Also for a lot of dead malls, this is a death sentence for sure.
About two years ago our Mall lost Sears and Macy's just a few months apart. That said, they had already lost a lot of small stores before that happened. I fully expected Penney's to fold it's tent in the last round of closings. It is a two story store and I don't remember ever seeing more then 4 people in there at any given time. As anchor stores we still have Penny's, Belk's and Dillard's. But, the rest of the place is pathetic. Almost all the recognizable store names have left already. None have been replaced with other retail stores. Just locations for youth clubs and military recruiters. The get a big surge about a two months before Christmas filling a few of the empty spaces, by the end of this month they will all be gone. On large space was occupied by a local hospital blood draw location. That lasted about one month.

The saddest thing is that this Mall covered a huge area. Not just the actual Mall but a huge ring of other establishments that circled around the Mall itself. It is more then a mile drive to circle the Mall building and pass all that was there once. There were large food stores, auto repair locations, banks, fast food and sit down restaurants, apartment complexes and enough parking to take care of a small city. I really hate to see that kind of thing. I think what happened is that a very large shopping area, not unlike the strip malls of the past, but, many condensed in the same basic area with separate independent looking strip locations with entrances for each establishment and necessitating the need for driving ones car to the next clump of store locations because the area was too big to walk carrying packages, etc. Also, in Raleigh, they opened another mall, (within 8 miles of this one) and the interior was much more attractive and I believe they charged less rent then ours stubbornly insisted on even as the closures started to build momentum.

Very poor management and a maintenance crew that spent the day just walking around and making small talk with regulars while ignoring problems. I went into one of the rest rooms the other day and it smelled awful, but, also the sink with the sensor faucet was constantly running. I went out and told the main maintenance man about it. He just said thanks and continued what he was doing. He was still talking with people when I had circled back around taking my daily walk.
 

Smiley/OCD

Well-Known Member
I could also see a lot of the Sears locations becoming mall expansions. Basically, they could expand the common areas into the former Sears and put a bunch of smaller stores inside.
The only problem with adding just retail is that the traffic in the malls coupled with the out of control price of rent and CAM charges just don't warrant a total retail expansion...most malls in NJ are having a ROUGH time renting the existing stores let alone adding more stores.
 

PUSH

Well-Known Member
This post turned out to be longer than I expected...

I worked for K-Mart for 3 years in college, where I started as a cashier, moved to hardlines, and eventually to the service desk. Our store closed down two months before I graduated, and I was there on the last day. Speaking from experience and hearing stories from other nearby K-Marts, my store was one of the better ones in our district. Easily the newest, and probably considered the "best" depending on how you define that. However, poor management and rock-bottom wages caused high turnover rates among not only bottom-tier employees like myself, but also full-time ones. You could go less than half a mile down the road and make more as a part-time employee at Walmart than you could as a full-time employee at K-Mart. Nobody got a single pay raise in my time there. I had 5 or 6 managers in my 3 years there because they used it as a stepping stone to get experience as a store manager before moving to more promising jobs with other companies. Corporate policies were stupid, managers did not hold anybody accountable, and nothing productive ever happened in the store. We were constantly understaffed because our budget did not allow for full staffing, which led to customer dissatisfaction. Often times there would only be 5 or 6 employees in the store: 1 manager, 1 service desk associate, one or two in hardlines/softlines, and one or two on register. One or two hours to close there were several times when it was just me at the service desk and a manager. Nobody at registers or on the floor. We also constantly had untrained employees running outdated cash registers either because we didn't have enough employees on duty, or we didn't have quality employees on duty when they were trained. The Shop Your Way rewards program constantly lost us money and constantly ran into problems, errors, and glitches which could not be solved in store or by an employee. Customers would have to call the Shop Your Way number to fix the problem. They literally would not work with customer service employees. They would only work directly through the customer, which only caused more anger and frustration with customers. We had at least 3 coupons print off with each receipt and purchase, on top of 3 or 5 prompts on the pin pad for the customer to select, which just extends the transaction time on already slow registers. The online shopping was a joke because it sends orders to certain stores based on their on-hand quantities... well half the time we could not find the merchandise on the floor because the store was such a mess and employees could not find where the item was supposed to go, so they just put it behind something else. The website is also very slow, glitchy, and not user friendly.

Overall, corporate went for quick, makeshift solutions to fix large foundational problems. They did not invest money into upgrading technology. They did not invest in their employees. Instead they invested in gimmicky things which actually made customers more frustrated. The average consumer just wants to get their items and get out. K-Mart tried to build a loyal customer base, but isolated the average consumer. That's not smart when companies like Walmart offer quick, easy, low-priced options with happier employees.

And those are my thoughts.
 

TwilightZone

Well-Known Member
This post turned out to be longer than I expected...

I worked for K-Mart for 3 years in college, where I started as a cashier, moved to hardlines, and eventually to the service desk. Our store closed down two months before I graduated, and I was there on the last day. Speaking from experience and hearing stories from other nearby K-Marts, my store was one of the better ones in our district. Easily the newest, and probably considered the "best" depending on how you define that. However, poor management and rock-bottom wages caused high turnover rates among not only bottom-tier employees like myself, but also full-time ones. You could go less than half a mile down the road and make more as a part-time employee at Walmart than you could as a full-time employee at K-Mart. Nobody got a single pay raise in my time there. I had 5 or 6 managers in my 3 years there because they used it as a stepping stone to get experience as a store manager before moving to more promising jobs with other companies. Corporate policies were stupid, managers did not hold anybody accountable, and nothing productive ever happened in the store. We were constantly understaffed because our budget did not allow for full staffing, which led to customer dissatisfaction. Often times there would only be 5 or 6 employees in the store: 1 manager, 1 service desk associate, one or two in hardlines/softlines, and one or two on register. One or two hours to close there were several times when it was just me at the service desk and a manager. Nobody at registers or on the floor. We also constantly had untrained employees running outdated cash registers either because we didn't have enough employees on duty, or we didn't have quality employees on duty when they were trained. The Shop Your Way rewards program constantly lost us money and constantly ran into problems, errors, and glitches which could not be solved in store or by an employee. Customers would have to call the Shop Your Way number to fix the problem. They literally would not work with customer service employees. They would only work directly through the customer, which only caused more anger and frustration with customers. We had at least 3 coupons print off with each receipt and purchase, on top of 3 or 5 prompts on the pin pad for the customer to select, which just extends the transaction time on already slow registers. The online shopping was a joke because it sends orders to certain stores based on their on-hand quantities... well half the time we could not find the merchandise on the floor because the store was such a mess and employees could not find where the item was supposed to go, so they just put it behind something else. The website is also very slow, glitchy, and not user friendly.

Overall, corporate went for quick, makeshift solutions to fix large foundational problems. They did not invest money into upgrading technology. They did not invest in their employees. Instead they invested in gimmicky things which actually made customers more frustrated. The average consumer just wants to get their items and get out. K-Mart tried to build a loyal customer base, but isolated the average consumer. That's not smart when companies like Walmart offer quick, easy, low-priced options with happier employees.

And those are my thoughts.
I wouldn't say walmart's employees are happier, but yes, bad policies = bad business = no business.
 

flynnibus

Well-Known Member
Kmart died in the late eighties.

Sears struggled to face down its new competition but still had unique value. Having other big box like Best Buy, Lowe’s, hd, etc move into appliances I’m sure was a big blow too. Leadership failed at seats IMO.

Looking at jcpenny this last fall... their stores were nearly as bad as sears was in 2017.... cost reducing but nothing to actually change their course. The stores fall below the line of wanting to shop there and the death spiral accelerates. I bet they start breaking up after Black Friday this year
 
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