Sears’ latest move: Four weddings and a(n) eventual funeral

You’ve got to hand it to Eddie Lampert; the guy is tenacious. Of course he is also seriously misguided. At least when it comes to Sears.

To briefly recap.

Act One

In 2004 Lampert decides to merge a struggling and decidedly mediocre retailer (that’d be Sears) with a lousy one (that’d be Kmart). Turns out that didn’t work out too well. 15 years of declining sales, hundreds of store closings, multiple rounds of layoffs and a veritable bonfire of cash burning ensues. Oops.

Act Two

This past fall we’re reminded of what Hemingway wrote in The Sun Also Rises. When one of the characters is asked how he went bankrupt, he replies mournfully: “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

Yup the once storied retail went all Chapter 11 on us. Wow, nobody saw that coming. And by “nobody” I mean everybody.

Act Three

Lampert wins the Nobel Prize for chutzpah as he tries to back out of paying severance for all the folks he ushered to the unemployment line.

And yet the world’s slowest liquidation sale continues apace.

Act Four

Shortly after emerging from bankruptcy the company announces it will open 3 new small format home stores. Not 2, but 3!

This morning, Lampert decides to get the band back together by bringing Sears Hometown and Sears Outlet stores back into the fold. You know, sort of like an Unfab Four.

And “lipstick on the pig” references get used ad nauseam.

Act Five

The final act is yet to be written. But to paraphrase Alan Lacy (my former boss at Sears) “we all know how this ends, we’re just not sure exactly when.”

Dead brand walking.

3 thoughts on “Sears’ latest move: Four weddings and a(n) eventual funeral

  1. So what exactly will these stores be offering? We have one in Lafayette (Louisiana) but I have yet to venture into it. It’s located in a Target based strip mall between a Ross Dress for Less (which does a booming business) and going out of business Stage and Payless stores. Payless shutting down surprised me although Stage was not a shocker by any stretch.

  2. Sears is one of the last vestiges of Americana. Our grandparents…even great-grandparents…would look forward to seeing the “Sears and Roebuck Catalog” come in the mail. A bastion of goods and services, many middle income families relied on stores such as Sears, Montgomery Wards, Woolworth’s, etc.

    That said, like many others, they held to old ways and never adapted to the times. Change is inevitable, and either you evolve or devolve…there is no other path. It saddens me to see Sears in such a state. But like watching a old wolf fade and pass away, this is the nature of things.

    Maybe Sears will surprise us all, and make changes in their offerings that will be more contemporary, even unique. Given their history, this is quite doubtful, but hope springs eternal. Mr. Lambert seems to think it can be done. Then again, I think we have seen this show. And it is sad to see the rerun. RIP Sears.

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