Today Sears Holdings reported comparable store sales decreases of 10.9% and its twelfth straight quarterly operating loss. And when we are reminded that despite a decade of Eddie Lampert’s leadership there is still no articulated–much less viable–strategy to turn the retailer around, another cash raising tactic is highlighted to distract from the brutal reality of the approaching cliff.
Long time readers of my blog know that I’ve taken Sears leadership to task multiple times over the past several years. And I will readily admit that I am guilty of piling on. But should you be desperate for entertainment, here are a few of my diatribes:
The original: Sears: The World’s Slowest Liquidation Sale
The deliberately provocative: 5 reasons why Sears should liquidate ASAP
And my increasingly prescient: Sears: It’s even worse than you think.
By now, it’s hard to imagine that anyone buys the notion that the growing percentage of Sears Shop Your Way customers has anything to do with the retailer becoming more customer relevant–much less profitable. By now, I would hope it’s obvious that Sears cannot possibly cost cut its way to prosperity. By now, everyone should see that without unprofitable discounts, Sears is unable to even maintain market share.
Most critically, Sears is quickly falling–or has fallen–below a critical mass on a number of dimensions:
- Number of stores to remain a viable national omnichannel retailer
- Production volume and outlet distribution for its key proprietary brands (Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard)
- Selling space and differentiated product offering needed in most categories to remain competitive.
To maximize the prices he can fetch through an orderly liquidation, I suppose Mr. Lampert has to maintain the illusion that Sears can remain a going-concern national retailer. Let’s just not forget, that it is only an illusion. And he had better hurry.
Dead brand walking.