I heard a news headline this morning talking about Sears being a victim of the internet. What a lazy way for the people to say "It isn't our fault" Let's look back at Sears problems beyond the internet. They bought Lands End for $1,900,000,000.00. Lands End was a company with a reputation for quality goods at much higher prices than Sears sold items for. Sears then dedicated large portions of their stores to Lands End; even making you buy the items from special Lands End checkout areas. Sears then went to their own suppliers to have them make the Lands End items at greatly reduced costs and lower quality but still charged the higher prices. They killed the reputation of Lands End all because some geniuses at Sears thought that Lands End was stupid for paying for quality products. But they still had the expense of changing the stores and lost space from their regular products and Sears customers had sticker shock at the prices of the Lands End items. They cut a deal with the Kardashians for a clothing line and again designated a big chunk of their store for just that merchandise. All with the hope of proving that "You can't dress trashy till you spend a lot of money". Turns out fans of the Kardashians don't tend to shop at Sears and bad clothing styles didn't bring them into the store. It ended up being a second instance of alienating their regular customers. I can see that they needed to improve their image. A lot of people that would have no problem saying "I bought it at Walmart" likely wouldn't admit to shopping at Sears. But come on, who in their right mind thought either of those two things would improve their image? Maybe a little thought should have been given to actually getting some name brand shoes and other similar items into the stores. They then took a statistic that said 70% of people that were members of their rewards program visit the store frequently to mean that everyone that they get to join their program will automatically start visiting their stores more often. They didn't even think for a second that the statistic was the other way around and that people who visited their stores frequently tended to be members of the rewards program. So they went militant on getting people to join. They would actually berate customers for not joining the rewards program. Stopping the checkout process to just stand and stare at the customer with statements like: "I just don't understand why you don't want to save money" I'm sure some consultants told them that piling stuff in the middle of the isles would increase their sales and I'm guessing they did sell some of the piled up items. The problem is if you make it difficult to walk through a store I will just stop walking through it. Then there is no chance of finding things to buy. Even if I do walk through the store if I have to pay attention to winding my way through piles of junk and salespeople standing around then I'm not looking to the side where the real merchandise they want to sell is. That completely cuts down on spur of the moment purchases. They tried to copy Amazon's marketplace with sears.com by adding multiple other vendors but it just ended up being a confusing mish-mash of merchandise from questionable sources. Then they wouldn't give you the Sears online price in the store unless you ordered it for pick-up. A recent purchase at a local store that was closing during its final 7 days ended up being 20% higher than if I'd ordered it online and picked it up at a store that wasn't closing. What genius doesn't think it is a good idea if a customer finds something on their site but still comes into the store to purchase it where they might find more things to buy. Sears wasn't killed by the internet; Sears drove people to the internet.