Sears, not the internet's fault

Discussion in 'General Off Topic Forums' started by invaderzim, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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    News flash,

    An attorney for Sears told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain that Lampert is expected to submit a revised offer for the retailer, along with a $120 million deposit, by 4 p.m. ET (2100 GMT) on Wednesday. The attorney, Ray Schrock of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, did not disclose further details of the new offer, which materialized after what he described as several days of round-the-clock negotiations.

    Drain said that Sears will weigh Lampert’s offer against a proposed liquidation during a Jan. 14 bankruptcy auction. Should Lampert’s offer falter again, he will forfeit more than $17 million from his deposit to Sears creditors.
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-...sider-billionaire-chairmans-bid-idUSKCN1P218J
     

     

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  2. toxcrusadr

    toxcrusadr Omelette au Fromage Subscriber

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    Malls have been on a downward trend for awhile, hard to imagine all those stores would be worth all that much. But what do I know.

    I do know the 'new' paradigm is to lease the real estate and not own it, so you can bug out for the even farther suburbs whenever you want. That's what Walmart did.
     
  3. Tommy_B

    Tommy_B Active Member

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    I had been holding on to a $50 Sears gift card for several years until last week. Thought I'd better buy something before they went bankrupt. But what? Was thinking about an air compressor, but didn't want to buy Craftsman since the warranty could be worthless. Prices on other brands/tools were much higher than other sites, making it almost pointless to use the gift card. Finally settled on getting a USB hub for my wife's PC, but not much to choose from. overpriced by about $10, but what the heck, spent $45 and also got a USB adapter cable for $5. Whew! I'm done with Sears. :-|
     
  4. savatage1973

    savatage1973 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Went through this with Wally World a couple years back when they were actually still advertising "price matching". I was building a "home brew" vacuum RCM and needed a cheap/small/low-powered shop-vac for the project. Found one on the WalMart website that was perfect for my needs, so I printed the page, and since it was listed as available at my local store for "pick-up now", I just went to the store to get it. Sure enough--found a whole end-cap of them $39.88--on-line price from their website page that I printed and took with me $28.88 (w/free 2-day shipping).

    I grabbed one--didn't even bother to go to the regular register--straight to the service desk. After a bunch of hmmming and hawwwing, and two managers inspecting every printed number on the box and contents of the box like an evidence team in a murder investigation and then taking a microscope to my print-out from THEIR OWN WEBSITE, I walked out the door for $28.88+tax. You'd have thought that I was taking that $11 directly out of their own wallets.

    Malls are a thing of the past. They are either dead, or dying a slow and painful death. Real estate is not. U-Haul is buying up Sears, K-Mart, and even Macy's locations.
    https://www.businessinsider.com/uhaul-plans-buy-sears-macys-stores-2018-12
     
  5. peerson

    peerson Super Member

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    All of my kitchen appliances, washer/dryer, air compressor, water heater, etc., came from Sears. After a ridiculous warranty experience, I wrote to them to explain that I would never purchase another thing from them. They finally honored their warranty. However, due to the hassle of dealing with them, we have been replacing items as they "die" with other brands. Customer loyalty was not very important to them. If they treated many of their other customers the same way, I can see why they failed. They were once a giant of "Retail". They just didn't change with the times.
     
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  6. savatage1973

    savatage1973 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    That's it in a "nutshell"--couldn't have stated it any more concisely, myself.

    Too many people cashing their bonus checks and reading quarterly reports than the writing on the wall.
     

     

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  7. c.coyle

    c.coyle Fighting the Dunning-Kruger effect. Subscriber

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    True, but innovators like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates don't go to work for established companies like Sears or IBM.
     
  8. Beatnik

    Beatnik What's this ?

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    Craftsman was bought by Stanley, Black & Decker a while back.
     
  9. quaddriver

    quaddriver 120 What's per channel Subscriber

    sears does not own craftsman, stanley does, so the warranty is thru them.
     
  10. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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    You should have waited, when mine close they had closing sales. At first it was 30% off and then 60%- 70%. I stocked up on Levi's, T's, socks, shoes and underwear. I think the Levi 501s I was getting cost me around $18-$20 a pair. This is my main dress and wear it everyday for work and play, I still have new of everything two years later, so it saved me a lot.
     
  11. sgmlaw

    sgmlaw Well-Known Member

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    THIS.

    In the early 1990s, Sears was Amazon. They had a vast warehouse, distribution and delivery system in place, and a complete, well-established merchandise ordering system that had dominated the entire retail market for decades.

    It was the Catalog.

    They only thing they needed to do was move their famous catalog over to the then-emerging Internet. They would have completely dominated Internet merchandising instantly. Amazon would never have arisen.

    Instead, they killed off the catalog, and exposed themselves to a death struggle with Walmart on the streets. I told my wife at that time it was the biggest possible strategic error they could have made. Epic strategic failure. They jettisoned their escape raft to the 21st Century just as America was about to embrace it.

    It has been all downhill for Sears since.

    Whoever was the CEO at that time in the early 1990s should have been strung up for executive malpractice.

    I kept Sears last general catalog before they cancelled it. It is a sad tombstone in retrospect. I grew up in a Sears household, as did most mid-Century Americans.
     

     

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  12. 4-2-7

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    At least in my area malls and shopping areas are close to freeways and the major public transportation. Population is growing fast and housing is very limited. So the new housing building model is building 3 story apartments and condos near shopping, freeways and public trans, and or stores on the ground level. This is designed to get people out of their cars and to have everything in walking distance.

    The Sears at my local mall had their own huge parking lot and was detached from the main mall across the street. Across the El Camino is the train, and the El Camino has Busses running. So between the building and lot they have a huge 3 story apartment building going up.

    The local K-Mart was the same similar situation and about two miles away in another neighborhood shopping center. They are on the same train tracks and a massive parking lot, with freeway on ramp both directions right out their driveway. So this new apartment complex is surrounded by shopping, freeway and public trans.

    I think the big money is the acreage of parking lots around all these stores and their location. They don't care about the building as they just tear it down.
     
  13. SiliconTi

    SiliconTi AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    K-Mart buying Sears killed the Big K - what a stupid move that was. I preferred KM over WM (hate the local WM - all that is wrong with America is there) and miss being able to touch something before I bought it.
     
  14. Tim64

    Tim64 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Same here on the tools seeing made in China on a Craftsmen tool is just wrong. They do still have some made in Usa hand tools mostly wrenches and sockets but I already have that stuff I bought in the 80's.
     
  15. sunvalleylaw

    sunvalleylaw AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Let's just blame the Kardashians. (j/k).

    When there was a small Sears outlet in town, I went there for things such as my Craftsman riding mower (really a MTD I think), and other appliance/tools types of things. The old Craftsman name and warranty still held true (not that I think it applied to my mower) in my mind. As long as the warranty and service was there, I wouldn't care if the hand tool was produced overseas. They should have stuck to that sort of stuff, and other more traditional value lines. And just kept the quality and service up. Oh well. Too late now.
     
  16. savatage1973

    savatage1973 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    YUP--another poor decision (amongst many).

    Sears really began to "botch it" big-time as far back as the 80's. My sister worked for Sears back then while in nursing school. To help build-up her credit history, she applied for a Sears credit card, and was denied by her own employer (insufficient income). Then Sears introduced the Discover card, and in order to gain the acceptance of retailers to compete with VISA, MC and AmEx, handed them out like candy at a Halloween party to anyone who applied, and got caught with a ton of bad debt.

    About this time was when I basically stopped setting foot in a Sears store, unless I needed/wanted a Craftsman tool, Kenmore appliance, or DieHard battery.

    Then Sears became "brand central"--bringing competing products into their own stores. If I sell washers and dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers and ranges, why the f**k would I want to sell yours right next to mine on MY display floor?:crazy: Giving you access to established retail space (at my expense) to help you compete against the products that I already sell is not a great "business model".

    Then they started "whoring out" their only remaining "solid brands"--Craftsman, Kenmore, and DieHard. Sell out "the brand", and allow other retail outlets to sell my products (the only ones that I have left to even entice you into one of my stores). Sure, it was a "quick fix" for temporary cash, but about the equivalent of selling your car to pay the mortgage, and then have to pay to take a cab to and from work every day.

    Craftsman and DieHard are pretty much "dead" in terms of "brand loyalty", at this point, and Kenmore is on a "slippery slope" right behind them. At this point, there are absolutely zero reasons for me to enter a Sears retail store (unless it is for a "store-closing" clearance sale).

    Sears "had it all", and threw it all away--didn't just let it slip away--they down-right "flushed it". They had "history". They had brand-loyalty. With the exception of an internet store interface, they already had all of the necessary infrastructure to be Amazon. They were even their own consumer credit provider with Sears Credit and Discover--just like Ebay/PayPal.

    It took them a mere 3 decades to destroy/dismantle what had been built during the first 100 years of the company's existence.

    The last time I was in a Sears/K-Mart store was over a year ago--that store is closed now. The only reason I even went there is that it was the on the way out to a job-site and I needed a dozen 9V batteries (for smoke detectors), wasn't going to pay $20 per 4-pack at a convenience store, and the K-Mart was right there. It was like stepping into a time-machine. The whole store looked probably exactly like it did when it when it was built in the mid-70's, and never cleaned since. Employee morale was non-existent. No one cared about anything other than whether there was going to be a pink-slip with their next pay-check, or whether they could eek out a couple more years until retirement. You could literally "feel" it--not "confidence-inspiring" to the consumer.

    So they are where they are, and soon to be no more--suicide by management...
     
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  17. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

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    Fry’s Electronics will be next. I was in there two weeks ago and had to wade through stuffed animals, oscillating fans, and pallets of Altec branded Chinese made garbage to get to the computer dept. Then, I milled around for a good 15min unacknowledged before leaving. Took my money elsewhere.

    This is what happens when folks with college degrees whom have zero understanding or appreciation of their founder’s original business model are allowed to run busineses ...

    I haven’t been in Sears in years for the reasons Heather discussed earlier ...
     

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  18. toxcrusadr

    toxcrusadr Omelette au Fromage Subscriber

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    It's the same story as a lot of other old-line businesses. Reminds me of Southwest Airlines and how they took a lot of market share by innovating. Nice organized web site. You buy each leg of a trip separately, you pick your times and prices each way. You can do one way or multi stop trips without any price penalty. You can cancel a trip and get 100% of the cash back to use later for up to a year, no penalty. Lots of flights on smaller planes so you have a lot of options. No assigned seats, just boarding groups depending on when you checked in. Still two free checked bags when you fly. Planes are mostly all the same plane so it's easy for passengers, crew and cheaper for maintenance. The older airlines struggled to keep up and had to consolidate, but SWA chugs along.

    Someone said the Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos types don't go to work for old fossilized companies. I think that's the deal. You almost can't prevent this kind of thing happening, sad as it is.
     
  19. philo426

    philo426 Super Member

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    How is Target doing?
     
  20. sgmlaw

    sgmlaw Well-Known Member

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    If abandoning their catalog distribution infrastructure on the eve of the Internet was Sears first foot in the grave, abandoning their exclusive house brands was the second. That started before the 1990s. And Radio Shack made the exact same mistake.

    I'm old enough to remember walking into Sears stores in the 1950s and 60. Back then, you had full-line stores and hard-merchandise stores (no soft goods such as clothing). The latter eventually morphed into Sears Hardware, without the electronics and furniture. But whenever you walked into one, nearly everything was Sears-branded. And I mean EVERYTHING.

    And not just Kenmore and Craftsman. I'm old enough to remember Silvertone audio products and Coldspot AC and refrigeration products. When you walked into the electronics department, you many have seen a couple national brands, but 90% was all Sears. Sears TVs and radios. Sears stereos. Even early Sears "pong" games and other gizmos. Sears bedding and whites. Sears clothing. I wore a couple Sears suits. Sears-branded boots. Even Sears-branded underwear. I have relatives with ancient Sears steel sheds still on their property (held up by the rust at this point).

    Later. when you walked into the auto department, it was not just DieHard batteries. It was RoadHandler tires and Spectrum lubricants. In the early 1970s, nylon string lawn trimmers became the rage. And while Weed Eater was the leading national brand, Sears outsold them regularly with their "Weedwacker" brand, that eventually expanded into other "wackers" across the lawn and garden department, right next to the Sears-branded lawn food and weed killers.

    And Sears spent decades and untold millions of dollars carefully cultivating these brands and sub-brands. In the early 70s, a commercial for an NFL game consisted of a DieHard commercial, followed by a RoadHandler commercial for winter. And Sears was the ONLY place you could buy these, and many other great products.

    Sure, most of the stuff was made by someone else. Maybe White-Westinghouse or Whirlpool made it. But Sears was very careful to specify some additional styling, feature or specification to their product, nearly always something that made theirs a little extra, a little nicer. And always enough to differentiate it from the manufacturer's own product. Sears' products were unique then.

    And when something had the gold "Sears Best" label on it, you knew you were getting a near top-of-market item that was well made and a fair value. I still have a "Sears Best" automotive tester and dwell station from the early 1970s, with that little gold seal on the box. Still works.

    But the most important thing was you could only buy these things at Sears. They were unique. They had built an entire marketing universe of their unique products, with a complete monopoly on them. Oranges vs. apples, so no one else could really compete on price. When they gave them up, one by one, it turned the entire shopping experience into a price comparison. Because they are all just apples. There was no way they were going to compete on price with Walmart and the other modern "five and dimes" of the late Century. When they bought K-mart, they were acknowledging they had lost their biggest marketing advantage and were losing the price war, too.

    And they "Service(d) what we sell". I always knew that whatever Sears product I bought, Sears would always have parts and service for it, conveniently. Sometimes for decades. Try walking up to a Walmart customer service desk to get your four year old LG TV repaired, and see what happens.

    They gave up their competitive advantage, one they had spent decades building, and then died on the price battlefield. And they did it willingly. Again, complete executive management malpractice and a betrayal of an untold investment over generations.

    Radio Shack did the exact same thing with their Realistic, Archer and Tandy brands and all the little sub-brands under them. The day RS started selling RCA-branded boom boxes in their stores, I know that they too had crossed the rubicon. There was no way that RS was going to successfully sell national brands against the Walmarts and Best Buys of the market. By the end, they were selling cell phones and expired batteries and a handful of odds and ends. All the old RS products were gone.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
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