So Long Sears, Buh Bye
Formerly based at the Sears Tower in Chicago the operation began as a mail order catalog company and began opening retail locations in 1925.
From the 1920s to the 1960s rural areas of America depended on the Sears Catalog for clothing, toys and other essentials not carried by local merchants in small towns and villages.
Every household in America had a Sears Catalog at the ready to keep up with the Joneses in their neighborhoods.
You could buy almost anything from Sears. They even sold ready to build houses.
Probably the most famous mail order purchase was Lee Harvey Oswald’s rife that allegedly killed Kennedy. Not clear whether he order it from Sears.
Where America Shops? Not Anymore
Sears motto used to be, “Where America Shops.” Unfortunately, that motto now belongs to Walmart.
Sears had been on a downhill slide for the past 10-15 years. The last year that Sears recorded a profit was in 2011. Today they declared bankruptcy.
Their stock is selling for .31¢ per share. Cents not dollars.
With Walmart and Amazon entering the picture stores like Sears and J.C. Penny’s have had a hard time keeping up.
As Sears moved to a more discount sales operation the more customers they lost to Walmart and other’s due to a larger shopping selection.
Nordstrom’s took over the higher range of clothing while Target filled the gap between Walmart and Nordstrom.
There was no place Sears could go. They became the Burger King in third place behind Wendy’s and McDonald’s.
Some Final Thoughts
Sears has massive debt and will have to borrow over $1 billion dollars just to stay in business over the Christmas holiday.
Forty-six store closings are scheduled in November with another 146 closings planned in the near future.
They do own the land where most of their stores are located but it’s not enough prime real estate to offset their debt.
Most of the land was acquired in inner cities where their prime customers used to be but also where land values have depreciated.
Sears was an icon as I was growing up. I remember showing my mother the Sears catalog toys I hoped Santa would bring me each Christmas.
I wish there was still Sears, Drive In Movies, soda fountains, American Bandstand, and Frankie and Annette but times change and so do we.
At least we still have Superman and Batman.