Sears about to file for bankruptcy

The end of an era, it would seem.

There was a time when you could order custom made houses from this place. I remember Craftsman tools as well. In-store cafeterias. Automotive service. They were the one-stop shop place.

Ouch. Not too long ago (maybe 15 years?) Sears was largest private employer in the US.

It has to be longer ago than that. In 2003 Wal-mart is huge.

Replaced by Amazon.

From $144 over a decade ago to 59 cents. I want to say something like “That’s some fine business management there Lou.” But this was the plan all along. The top people are coming out of this fine. Stockholders not so much.

All I know is the Hackensack Sears still has their original “Sears & Roebuck” sign on it. I want that sign. It has to be worth a good deal.

Note that “filing for bankruptcy” does not necessarily mean “going out of business.” The article doesn’t mention what chapter they would file under. But it doesn’t look good. They have been selling off business lines to raise cash, closing stores, and haven’t turned a profit since 2010.

True, and true again – we don’t know if they’re liquidating, but I don’t see how Sears is relevant anymore. It seems that going the way of Woolworth’s might be the way to go.

Right, but I think buying EVERYTHING online will come back to bite society. The new generations of people will start to think it’s cool to be able to touch and hold things before buying them.
Don’t know when that’ll happen, but I prefer to be able to check out the items I buy before purchasing them.

Not me. I’m old(er than many here) and I have totally bought in to the Amazon model. If I never have to roam around a department store or step into a mall again in my life I will be happy. I don’t need to hold anything before I buy it. Just give me the specs and I’m fine.

The only issue I ever have with online purchases is with clothing sizes, and I get around that quite well by purchasing two sizes of an item and returning the one that doesn’t fit. I just print out a UPS label and back she goes. It couldn’t get any easier.

The brick and mortar model is done; some just don’t realize it yet.

Shopping from my bed or lounging on my patio is where it’s at, man!

Buh-bye Sears. You should have at least attempted to join the 21st century.

“Bankruptcy” of course doesn’t mean that they will cease operations, but present-day realities mean it’s pretty much inevitable before too long. The same thing is happening to Sears that happened to Sears Canada years ago – besides the basic market changes that have hit all the traditional department stores, Sears is being bled dry by hedge-fund criminal Eddie Lampert, who is making zero effort to save the business or make any investments in it. There is just absolutely no interest in saving it. There have been numerous stories about the pathetic state of neglect of the stores, a sure sign of a retailer that is not only on the road to failure, but determined to get there.

The irony of it all is that the original Sears mail-order model could have been the basis for transitioning them to be the next Amazon, and they already had an incredible infrastructure for it: the Sears administration, fulfillment, and manufacturing center in Chicago was, when completed in 1906, the world’s largest commercial building, and the entire complex was so huge that it was virtually a city in itself. It’s really incredible how big this operation was that has now completely disintegrated.

I love Amazon. I can look at and read about items without visiting stores or shudder a mall. My purchase arrives, typically in 48 hours. Customer service is excellent. Plus, I can review prior purchases; as my jeans wear away I can reorder the make/model/size I like.

I like buying things from Amazon, but Amazon also acts as a storefront for third-party merchants. I think this has introduced a lot of opportunity for shoddy merchandise, or outright fraud.

Not really. Count me among those who “don’t realize it yet”. The major business model that’s been hit really hard is the general department store, for a whole bunch of reasons. But a great many specialty and upscale stores continue to thrive, and I believe always will. There will always be a market for those who want to see and touch before buying. In most cases I’d never buy major audio or video components, for example, without carefully checking them out in person.

Thus, I see all kinds of specialty stores thrive and expand. Around here, there’s even a large department store chain that continues to thrive, focusing mostly on upscale goods – especially fashion – where’s there’s no competition from the likes of Walmart. Compared to something like Walmart, it offers both merchandise selection and a shopping experience that’s at the opposite end of the spectrum – a genuinely pleasant experience in attractive surroundings. It’s true that many malls are currently struggling, but that’s partly because the demise of department stores (most recently Sears) has deprived them of their traditional anchor stores, plus the fact that Amazon and the like have undeniably made traditional retailing more challenging. But they’re not going to eliminate it.

Might you be speaking of Von Maur? Love the place, hope they can make it in today’s retail world.

I’m not sure how relevant that is to the online vs. brick-and-mortar argument (you can get ripped off at a brick-and-mortar store, too), but it is, in fact, very true. I’ve seen all kinds of common merchandise marketed by third parties on Amazon for prices so outrageous that it can only be called fraud. An adapter cable, for instance, for something like five times the price I picked one up for at a local computer store (exactly the same name-brand cable).

Another example: recently I bought a few packages of good quality men’s briefs from the upscale department store I mentioned in the previous post. Since the store sells mainly high-end stuff at fairly high prices, it occurred to me later I might have gotten them cheaper on Amazon. So I checked. I was astounded. They were offered by a third party. Exactly the same product – I checked the description carefully – but in packages containing half the quantity, and at twice the price. Literally, four times as much, and that’s compared to the price at an upscale luxury store!

The only explanation for these prices is that they’re hoping you won’t notice that they’re outrageous, and that enough people won’t check sanity-check them that they’ll make enough sales to profit handsomely.

No, they’re only in the US (I’m in Canada) but it sounds like the same idea. I was speaking of the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), which has an emphasis on fashion but carries a wider variety of upscale merchandise, too. They also own (and have integrated into their international operations) a number of other retailers including Saks Fifth Avenue.

Here is another thread where the fate of Sears was recently discussed.

That groaning sound you just heard was a gasp of desperation coming from the remaining indoor malls that just lost their last anchor tenant. Many of these will be joining Sears in short order.

(I don’t care what chapter they file for, there’s going to be yet another slew of store closures coming)

Or that they’re in stock some place far away and may have to clear customs. Or that they’ve got three years of overhead on them someone wants to get back. It’s like a garage sale. You put a bunch of stuff out there, but you know that not everything is going to sell. You rolls the dice, you takes your chances.

As a buyer, I plan on doing a big ol’ happy dance when Sears finally folds like a pancake. They are horrible to do business with if you’re tax exempt. Luckily, Craftsman is its own line and is available from ACE and other places. Sure, I have some nostalgic memories of sitting around with the Sears catalog. But I have nostalgic memories of watching Carol Burnett on Saturday nights on a 12 inch black and white tv, too. Doesn’t mean I want to relive it.

Through out the year, as I see things at art fairs or in little shops that I know my SIL or brother would like, I pick them up and hope I can remember where I put them come birthday or Christmas. But for the blue long sleeve XS sweater for my mom, the stabby man knife holder for SIL, or the video Dad wants, gimme Amazon every time. I haven’t set foot in a mall or Best Buy or Macys for a couple of years and it makes me much more pleasant to be around.