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The Official Sears & Kmart Thread

iHeartDisneylandCats

Proud Member Since 2016
Original Poster
#1
I'm not sure if anyone else here is interested in talking about Sears, but I figured I'd make this thread in case anybody was.

After months of store closing sales, Sears chairman Eddie Lampert has announced that he will purchase the company in an attempt to save it from closure. The question is, will it do any good? With the rise of Walmart and Amazon, specialty stores such as Toys R Us and Radio Shack have gone out of business in recent years, and Sears has been struggling for several years as well. It should be an interesting few months to see how the sale goes. Personally, I don't think Sears (and Kmart, which is owned by Sears) will have any brick and mortar stores left by 2020. I can see the Sears and Kmart names potentially being used for an online shop, similar to how Circuit City is still in business online.

https://www.circuitcity.com/shop

Also announced recently, there will be 80 more store closures by March. Several Sears stores in my area have closed this year, and it looks like a couple more will be going soon. This article discusses the purchase of Sears, and explains the potential future of the company:

https://www.dallasnews.com/business...ose-additional-80-stores-includingseven-texas

Finally, here is a list of the 80 stores recently announced to be closing:

https://searsholdings.com/docs/122818_store_closing_list.pdf

Is anybody actually sad to see Sears and Kmart dying? And are any stores in your area closing?
 

iHeartDisneylandCats

Proud Member Since 2016
Original Poster
#2
Advertisement
Here is the article in case there is a paywall:

Updated at 8:10 p.m. with new information about a rescue plan.
Sears is getting another chance.
While Sears' fate looked grim as it faced a key bidding deadline in bankruptcy court, Sears chairman Eddie Lampert late Friday came up with financing to buy the retailer out of bankruptcy, according to published reports.
Lampert arranged financing to make a $4.4 billion bid for 423 stores, according to reports from Reuters, CNBC and Bloomberg.
The retailer separately issued another list of Sears and Kmart store closings on Friday. The closings are part of Lampert's scaled back plan which earlier had been for 505 stores. Seven of the 80 additional stores that will close are in Texas, including Sears Auto Centers next to the department stores that will also close.
Collin Creek Mall in Plano, which is in the process of being bought as a redevelopment project, and the Richardson Square location on South Plano Road are closing in late March.
Liquidation sales at those stores are expected to begin in two weeks, Sears said. The Sears Auto Centers in Texas will close in late January. This is the third time Sears has closed a batch of stores since it filed for bankruptcy protection in October. Local Sears stores that so far haven't been put on closing lists are The Parks Mall at Arlington, Town East Mall in Mesquite, Hulen Mall in Fort Worth and North East Mall in Hurst.
Without a bid from Lampert, Sears' bankruptcy was close to becoming a total liquidation similar to Toys R Us last summer. Sears could still be liquidated as the court also considers other bids that will be submitted in January with plans to sell off the assets instead of running the department store chain. Also, Lampert's bid will be reviewed by the court and has to be deemed a "qualified bidder."

Sears shoppers at the store in Collin Creek Mall in Plano on Dec. 22.
(Maria Halkias/DMN staff)
Lampert has proposed to buy the company out of bankruptcy through his hedge fund, ESL investments. Lampert's $4.4 billion proposal may be the only offer to buy Sears as a whole company. The offer includes a $950 million line of credit. The retailer employs 68,000 people.
Lampert was still lining up his financing from lenders including Bank of America at the last minute, according to sources who spoke with Bloomberg. Lampert believes he can rescue the 130-year-old retailer out of bankruptcy even though he's been at it for years. He's controlled Sears since 2005. Lampert's plan may be partly funded by swapping the $2.5 billion in debt he holds to own the company, Bloomberg reported.
The lack of other bids and Lampert's financing difficulties are validation that trying to save Sears now is a costly and risky process with few guarantees, said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail.
"As a last roll of the dice, Sears has attempted to shrink its way to success by closing stores," he said. "Ultimately, reinventing Sears now would be akin to raising the Titanic and making it seaworthy again."
Here are the other Texas stores notified Friday that they are closing:
  • 4310 Buffalo Gap Road in the Mall of Abilene in Abilene.
  • 7701 I-40 in the Westgate Mall in Amarillo.
  • 2100 South W.S. Young Drive in the Killeen Mall in Killeen.
  • 3100 Central Mall Drive in the Central Mall in Port Arthur.
  • 6001 W. Waco Drive in Richland Mall in Waco
Here's a link to the additional 80 U.S. stores.
Twitter: @MariaHalkias
Bloomberg News contributed to this report.
 

MinnieM123

Well-Known Member
#3
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
#4
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
#5
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.
 

iHeartDisneylandCats

Proud Member Since 2016
Original Poster
#6
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.)
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.
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.
All the Kmart stores in my area closed many years ago. It was probably sometime in the mid 2000s that the last one near me closed, and I haven't been in one since.

Where I live, there is an overabundance of shopping malls, and most of them had/have a Sears. I can think of at least seven malls within a 50 mile radius that have lost or are losing a Sears since the Summer. It will be interesting to see what goes into the spaces. One mall already announced that a Korean grocery store will be going in next year, and another mall is getting mostly torn down because it's basically empty except for Sears, JCPenney, and a few smaller stores. The mall closest to me will leave the Sears empty for at least a year, because Sears owns the building or something. One thing that is really surprising to me is that one of the most popular malls near me has a Sears Appliance Outlet, which has somehow managed to survive. I thought for sure that would have been one of the first to go.
 

Demarke

Active Member
#7
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
#10
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
#11
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
#13
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...
 

iHeartDisneylandCats

Proud Member Since 2016
Original Poster
#14
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...
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.
 

Smiley/OCD

Well-Known Member
#15
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
#17
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.
View attachment 337770

View attachment 337771
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! ;)
 
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