RIP Sears


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/10/10/rip-sears.html


#2

Pensions will be voided but are they going to give executive bonuses like they did in Canada when Sears Canada shut down?


#3

I’m sad about this, but must also shamefully admit I haven’t bought anything at a Sears in at least a decade.


#4

We were just joking on a chat group about the lifetime warranty on a pair of Allstate shock absorbers someone found on an old Corvair. I suggested that Sears wasn’t long for this world, which seems to have been more imminently correct than I guessed.


#5

Even when it’s obvious, sometimes it’s best to tag rhetorical sarcasm. :sunglasses:


#6

Sear’s needed a theme song, it may have saved them in the end…


#7

<not-sarcasm>Shouldn’t the PBGC come to at least partial rescue?</not-sarcasm>

The strange thing (relatively speaking) is that Lampert, who has controlling ownership, is making demands of the company of which he happens to be the CEO:

Lampert said last month in a letter that Sears “must act immediately” on his latest proposal, in his investment capacity, to sell more assets and shed debt.

What, does he just go up to a mirror and start threatening himself?


#8

I grew up wearing Sears clothes, almost exclusively. Lived for the Christmas Wish Book every year when I was a tot. The unique aromatic mix of popcorn and chocolate from the confections kiosk that permeated the air when you went inside a store (up until the 1980s or so) is locked in memory. I still would shop at the one near our house a couple of times a year in recent times, for tools or appliances or the odd piece of clothing. But the shop and the brand has clearly been dying for decades.

It’s strange to think how Sears was the Amazon of its day, but couldn’t adapt to and survive the changes wrought by the internet.


#9

You know all Sears had to do was put their catalog on the internet.


#10

Is that actually what happened, or is this another Toys R Us-esque closure that was actually just vulture capitalism destroying an otherwise totally profitable company? I’m not entirely up on Sears’s corporate history, so this is a genuine question, but it has a lot of the same hallmarks as the Toys R Us story.


#11

Last year Sears published a catalog: 1993
Year Amazon.com was founded: 1994


#12

Even worse, Sears had online shopping via Prodigy back before the internet took off. They blew an enormous opportunity, and then Fast Slow Eddie happened to them.

(edit: Eddie has worked slowly and methodically… the asset stripping has been going on for years.)


#13

I don’t think that is “all” Sears had to do, but it would have been a good move.


#14

I live a 10 minute walk from a Sears, and am only in there every year or so for odd tools. I did buy an extra sump pump there before Sandy when the big boxes were sold out. It’ll be fascinating who takes over the space in a mall that already has Macys and Penneys.


#15

Well it is always a bit of a mix, because hedge funds and asset strippers tend to target the weak members of the herd. The first step in their playbook is to to achieve control on the cheap There is a reason that nobody would buy Amazon to strip it of its assets: The assets are not worth a fraction of what it would cost to control the company. But by most accounts Lampert was the worst kind of hedgie asshole that had no idea how to RUN a business, just how to play financial games with one.


#16

All I know is that for 14 years (after K-mart bought Sears), Lampert stands up year after year, announces some new strategy that will turn everything around (or at least stop the hemorrhaging) and says “This time, it’s gonna be better, and I really mean it this time!” As he has controlling shares, everyone else may piss up a rope if they don’t like it.

I could’ve sworn the popcorn was there up until the early 1990s. It might’ve helped their business if they’d kept it – it’s how movie theaters have turned profits for decades (and IIRC is the reason that popcorn is even a thing in modern American culture).

P.S. After 3.5 years, the former K-Mart across from where I work is still vacant. I looked it up and a church has bought it, but after 11 months they’ve yet to do anything with it other than take down the “For Lease” sign.


#17

Lordy, I can still imagine that smell. I was always partial to the double dipped chocolate covered raisins.


#18

They should have re-written the lyrics for ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’


#19

Where do you think the bonuses are going to come from?


#20

Neither of which are in great shape themselves of course.