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Justin

The Fall of Sears

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CBS Sunday Morning ran a fantastic piece called "The Fall of Sears" last week. Anybody with an affinity for Sears Roebuck & Co. or a frustration at how it's been run into the ground over the past two decades will appreciate this segment:

 

 

 

They briefly tell the history of Sears and how they ended up where they are today. I thought I knew a lot about Sears but never knew they were a key part of Prodigy internet service in the early '90s. 

I just made a post about some Sears items that I received for Christmas here: 

 

Growing up, it seems like a lot of birthday and Christmas presents came from Sears. So many childhood Christmas lists came from flipping through the pages of the Sears Wish Book and marking down the toys and games I dreamed of. My first Atari came out of Sears at Lakeside Mall in suburban Detroit along with most of games. Summers I would end up there with my dad to get a garden hose and some slacks before taking the car in to the Sears Auto Center to prepare for our summer road trip with an oil change, tires and new Die Hard battery. When we got ready to sell our home we were at Sears every day "visiting Bob Vila" in the home improvement department getting paint and wallpaper. Sears was everything. Video games, socks, H&R Block to do your taxes.

Of course we know the Sears connection to Atari history and how they were very helpful in Atari's early retail success. I have an immense fondness of Sears and hate to see them go. Although I haven't shopped at Sears as often in recent years, I go out of my way to give them my business for tools, their auto center, lawn and garden, and anywhere else where they were still offering stellar service, even if it meant paying a dollar or two more than the big box stores.

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That was a very worthwhile video, thank you for posting.

I know it's simplistic, but it sure seems like the Sears catalog model would have been absolutely primed to move to the internet.  They knew how to market stuff in an appealing way, organize the ads, and take orders and ship them efficiently.  The irony here is that the Sears website has ALWAYS been an absolute mess. 

What a shame. 

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The only item I got from Sears for Christmas was back in 2001 or '02.  My grandmother got me a Sony DVD player for Christmas.  Other than that, everything else came from either Penny's or other places.  As for what I got from my Aunt on my dad's side, it most likely came from Sears but I can't say as I don't know but know that is where they shopped the most.

Over the holidays, however, we would get Lowe's ads and it was odd to see Craftsman tools in it.

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🤯 SEARS IS OPENING NEW STORES!? I woke up this morning to a number of news articles about Sears opening new, smaller format stores. Sears announced this week they are getting ready to open its first batch of smaller stores focusing on appliances, mattresses and home services. The first three stores called "Sears Home & Life" will open on Memorial Day weekend and are a fraction of the size of the company's traditional stores.

New stores will be smaller in size, about 15,000 square feet, compared to traditional Sears stores which averaged more than 150,000 square feet. It appears that the stores will be in shopping centers rather than malls. I wonder if some of these shopping center locations will be former K-Mart locations, which Sears owns.

Sears also said it will be expanding its DieHard automotive brand into new categories, including lawn and garden equipment, to put in the "Home & Life" shops. I wonder if this is a result of Sears selling Craftsman tools?

I hope this is good news for Sears. I would love to see this iconic American company thrive, and for all of their workers to be able to keep their jobs. This will be an uphill battle as they struggle to pull themselves out of bankruptcy and have to compete against Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon, etc.

 

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From CBS News:

Sears set to open first new smaller-format stores

Their focus will be large and small kitchen appliances and other home goods

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sears-set-to-open-first-new-smaller-sears-home-and-life-stores/

 

From CNBC:

Sears, after bankruptcy, is opening new stores for home goods

That's after the department store chain has shut hundreds of Sears and Kmart locations over the years and filed for bankruptcy protection in October

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/04/sears-after-going-bankrupt-is-opening-new-stores-for-home-goods.html

 

From Fox Business:

Meet the new Sears: A glimpse inside the retailer's new test stores

Sears is ready for its comeback. After years of closures and a very challenging six-month period through bankruptcy, the struggling retailer is ready to win back customers with its first batch of smaller test stores.

https://www.foxbusiness.com/features/meet-the-new-sears-a-glimpse-inside-the-retailers-new-test-stores

 

From The Wall Street Journal:

Sears, After Years of Closures, Is Opening Stores Again

New locations will be fraction of the size of typical Sears and sell only hard goods such as tools and appliances

https://www.wsj.com/articles/sears-after-years-of-closures-is-opening-stores-again-11554379761

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I don't know why, but I was thinking about Sears this morning on my way to work.  "Toughskins".  Remember those?  I was just thinking about how this is another wasted opportunity by Sears.  The whole "Carhartt / Dickies" high end work clothes market should have been dominated by Sears and that "Toughskins" brand.  Every kid and his mom knew that brand in 1970, and it would have been an easy sell to go up-market to adult work clothes with the right marketing. 

 

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1 hour ago, RickR said:

I don't know why, but I was thinking about Sears this morning on my way to work.  "Toughskins".  Remember those?  I was just thinking about how this is another wasted opportunity by Sears.  The whole "Carhartt / Dickies" high end work clothes market should have been dominated by Sears and that "Toughskins" brand.  Every kid and his mom knew that brand in 1970, and it would have been an easy sell to go up-market to adult work clothes with the right marketing. 

That's a great point @RickR, I completely forgot about "Toughskins". Sold in the same store between Craftsman hardware and "The Softer Side of Sears" aka the back to school clothes shopping area. So many wasted opportunities and markets once dominated by Sears, completely piddled away.

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It's so odd that the mindset from just a few generations of management can drastically change SO much. They killed it in the catalog business for generations. There is NO reason that couldn't translate to the internet. I said for years, they could have been Amazon. So sad, ALL my first experience with Atari (and video games in general) came from Sears. 

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