The Decline of Sears...What Happened?

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dangerouslytalented : Had they put the catalog online the moment the internet happened, they would have not only survived, but they would have become Amazon.A no brainer that their no brain management failed to brain.

KutWrite : What I liked about Sears in the day (I'm 71 now) was what I like about Walmart now: 1. Convenient locations, in Sears' case, usually in malls where it could be part of a day's shopping loop. 2. Wide range of quality products. 3. Decent (though not low as Walmart) pricing. I especially went there for Craftsman tools; I have a whole toolbox + full of them. Last time, a couple of years ago, they replaced a worn screwdriver under their no-receipt lifetime guarantee. However they said it was the last time, as they dumped that policy. So for m,e Craftsman was no longer worth the premium price. Lambert just did the usual "raider" thing of using ruses to suck all the dough out of one or more companies, plus shuffle the deck chair subsidiaries for his own profit. I'd like to see his salary, perks & bonuses during his tenure there, plus on the ESL side. Carly Fiorina did the same thing at HP. I suspect enough people realized that to derail her run for Calif. senator. Meg Whitman did the same for eBay/PayPal. Luckily both got out or were ousted (with huge bonuses) so the co's were saved.

mr5elfde5truct : Rain Man came out in 1988- "K-Mart sucks." I had a K-mart right next to my house. Wal-Mart or Target was 15-20 min away. Anytime I walked into the place, looking for the simplest things, they didn't have them. You'd settle for some similar but over priced item and walk to the register where there would be 4 or 5 workers running 1 or 2 checkout lines that were always backed up. Then when you finally got to the register you'd realize what took so long- "Do you have a membership card? What's your phone number? Do you want to donate to charity? Hold on- my computer from 1992 is on the fritz, we have to do all of this over again... Let me print out your receipt that has the entire patriot act on it, it should only be another 23 feet." The last time I was in that K-mart they were finally having their going out of business sale. Walking into that place, and Sears, always gave me some strange feeling that was a mix of nostalgia and sadness. The store was mostly empty with stained and cracked tile you knew was from the 80s. "Rhythm is a dancer" was playing over the store's loud speakers. It's like they never left that time, and that was the whole problem.

silenthunter6 : As a former Sears employee you're right we didnt care about the customers, the moral in the stores was so low everyone felt like the company didnt care about us so why should we care about them or their business, we were always understaffed with broken and outdated equipment I was only there cause I needed the money but I hated working there

Lauren Kelso : I'm 23, but I have a sense of sadness with the fall of Sears. My grandpa worked as an appliance salesman there from the 60's until the mid-2000's or so when he retired. I always loved going to see him at work, dressed up in his suit and tie, back when he still had a full head of dark hair. If I was at his house before he went to work, he would let me pick his tie for the day (usually I picked the one with Mickey Mouse on it). Makes me sad that the era of being able to make a real career out of retail seems to have gone away. He took pride in his job, everyone at the store did. They were paid well, and they were able to retire comfortably. It seems to me that when taking care of your employees is no longer a priority, you lose good, hardworking people and end up hiring people who don't give a single shit. Because hey, it's just retail.

dangerouslytalented : Lampert is looting the company and has been doing so since he bought it. Sears will go bankrupt and Lampert has pocketed most of the company’s assets and cash, with others on the hook for the debt. Happened to Toys R Us too and in Australia, it happened to Dick Smith Electronics. Much of what he did would have been illegal before the Reagan deregulation and is illegal in many countries now.

Kieran Stark : R. I. P. Sears 1886-2018

edm : My first crush was a model from the Sears catalog, June 1993 edition

delwoodbarker : It's simple. Lampert holds the hedge fund that profits when Sears fails. He's basically bleeding the company and drinking the blood.

Ronald Schoolcraft : I am 53 years old. My dad worked for Sears for 46 years. Nearly everything we owned when I was a kid came from Sears. My dad's brother also worked for Sears for nearly 50 years. I currently own thousands of dollars worth of Craftsman tools. Sears was a huge deal. It makes me sick to see what's happened to it. There used to be a Sears store in my small hometown. In the 70s they closed it and many other small town stores to focus on shopping malls. They abandoned the rural customers that were a significant part of their original market. This, in my opinion, is the first in a long line of bad decisions that has led to bankruptcy. I agree with another poster that Sears blew it by not moving their catalog online in the early days of the internet. Amazon would not exist if they had. I told their clerks for years and any manager that I could corner that if they were losing me as a customer, they were on the way out of business. The combination of Sears and K-Mart was a mistake, too. K-Mart had a reputation for carrying cheap junk, while Sears had a reputation for quality. They didn't go together.

Scott Lemiere : Lampert is a corporate raider; he is selling things off piece by piece to make money for himself.

VIDEOHEREBOB : As a young kid growing up in the early 60's you could not wait to get your hands on the yearly Christmas catalog. They were also the go to place for appliances and tools. Sad, but they just didn't keep up with the changing retail climate.

BestAnimeFanservice : My brother in law is a manager at Sears working for 30 years there. He says every store has a bloated management system; that they never updated since the 50's. Each store has; 2 general managers each making $110k a year 3 managers each making $80k a year 5-8 Supervisors each making $60k a year 4-6 coordinators each making $40k a year and all over watch 10-12 store employees each making $30k a year That's a about a million dollars to operate 1 sears store; that doesnt even factor other costs like electricity or rent. A normal Sears store only makes about $300k in sales a year.

Windows 7 and a half : Sears: Oh Wow I’m the biggest retailer! Eddie Lampert (sarcastically): Oh yeah that’s nice (one night when sears is asleep) *Eddie kidnaps Sears* Eddie Lampert: I’m gonna shove this bankruptcy right through your heart Sears: SOMEBODY HELP ME Kmart: I’ll save you Eddie Lampert: Oh we have another one Sears: It’s 2 against one what are you gonna do about it Eddie Lampert: Oh yeah, meet Amazon and Walmart Sears and Kmart in unison: NOT AMAZON AND WALMART!! Eddie Lampert: Okay LET’S KILL THEM BOTH!! Sears: at least it will be a quick and painless death Eddie Lampert: AND LET’S MAKE IT LONG AND PAINFUL Kmart: We don’t want to end up like him *Sears and Kmart look at a picture of Blockbuster’s grave in fear* Amazon: I’M GONNA SLICE YOU WITH THESE CLOSINGS Eddie Lampert: I’M GONNA SHOVE THIS BANKRUPTCY UP YOUR CHEST Walmart: I’M GONNA INJECT THOSE CLOSINGS IN YOU 2 days later News Reporter: Breaking news Sears has just got kidnapped and abducted by Eddie Lampert and Kmart was trying to help but he also got abducted. Hey you sir how do you feel about this event Company Man: *i DoNt ReAlLy CaRe AbOuT sEaRs* Crowd: *BOOOOOOOOOO*

jstrawser : When they  scrapped their  catalog  and failed  to  get into the on line  sales  business    that  marked the end of sears

Mr.Pat : Damn, there's going to be a lot of empty mall anchors now.

Bill Keck : In the 1950's my Dad claimed, "If you can't get it at Sears, you probably can't get it at all!" Craftsman Tools were well regarded as the best. Kenmore appliances were well regarded. They owned Allstate Insurance for years. Back in the 1970's & 1980's they had an ad, "Sears is Where America Shops." And it was true! My ex-with started in their tools department., graduated to their shoe department and later to their electronics department. She was one of their top rated sales people. She worked at their Sears at the Staten Island Mall, their top grossing store for the whole East Coast. (My ex-wife graduated to Allstate, just before Sears spun it off as an independent company, in the early 1990's.) When I saw Sears closed most of the Staten Island store, and rented the space to Primark, I thought, "That's like cutting out your heart so your body can live! It's a terrible plan!" Yup, sure was a terrible plan.

K Note : A couple inputs on this: -It always looked to me like they failed to ride the internet wave and adapt like other successful retailers did -Their crown jewel tool brand, Craftsman, was once a high quality tool brand with lifetime warranties (to tool guys, these two features are important, ESPECIALLY if you're paying big money for tools). However, in its later years the quality went downhill and they stopped honoring their lifetime guarantees (if you're one of those guys who paid good money for tools and you lost your warranty for them, you'd be royally pissed)

Desmond Lyons : The concept of a brick and mortar store that sells mid level consumer goods is completely outdated in an economic reality that's dominated by an ownership super rich class and a permanent subsistence underclass. One group exclusively uses luxury brand stores in large cities and small boutiques in rich enclaves and the other either uses a combination of walmart, dollar stores, consignment shops and food banks. Both groups including the paltry remnants of the middle class use online giants, amazon Zappos's, eBay etc. but the rich use them for convenience, everyone else uses online shopping to make up for declining real wages. The reality now is the choice between luxury goods and straight walmart crap. No middle class = no mid level consumer goods

Quinn : Ah, the days where you could get a car for $395.

thejunkman : 5:32 Finally I always wondered about how old is "Company Man", now some of the presentation of topics makes sense. He missed out on the "golden era" of retail and the pre-internet days. I still like the videos and content. It is very well presented given the short experience and time frame of his formative years.

YNIC Rambo : As a 21 year old man Sears was the shit to me well I guess I have the mind of the previous generation

Selena Bonilla : I’d feel more surprised if eBay went bankrupt than amazon. I don’t shop on amazon , eBay is better .

corey hamby : It doesnt help that their customer service and employees dont care. I can remember several times where i really needed something only to go there and have them have locked the doors 45 minutes before they closed. The first time was when my car battery died in the evening i ran over there desperate to get a new battery at 7:20 when they closed at 8. All the employees just stood there looking at me like i was crazy when i asked them to just let me get a battery really quick. The second and last time i went there was when my central air stopped working in the evening and i went there trying to get a window unit so my dogs didnt suffer all night in the south florida summer heat. I got there at 7:35 and they had locked the doors and were just all shooting the shit and shood me away although the sign said they were open until 8. Never went there again and cant wait to see them go away.

Bill Keck : A true story from the Staten Island Sears: Around 1975, a man returned a Craftsman socket wrench because one of the sockets broke. Craftsman tools were guaranteed for life! The man had the original store receipt dated like 1933! There were no matching sockets for that old wrench. So Sears replace the whole socket wrench set! It was guaranteed for Life, and Sears meant it!

Helium Road : Guys like Lampert don't have any sentimental feelings about history or company pride, for him it's all about making money. The lack of customer service and the depressing state of any Sears store you walk into doesn't concern him. I feel bad for the employees in Sears; I once worked as a stock boy in a Sears hardware department when I was in college and business was good. We took some pride in keeping the stockroom running and the shelves neat and up to date, even though we were a bunch of punks. And I always liked Craftsman tools, they were good quality and they had a lifetime guarantee; it was understood that Sears was a good company. Not anymore. They should've got in early on Internet action, too. I wish them the best of luck.

LB M : The great thing about Sears, at least up until the early nineties, was they had everything the middle class wanted. Great appliances, tools, clothing, sports, electronics, car mechanics, tires, plant nurseries. They even had a coffee shop to take a break from shopping in. lol Customer service was king! Everything especially for the frugal. living below your means family virtue mentality. The middle class just like Sears has slowly declined since then. 2 incomers make more. Most of the middle class have moved up to the upper middle class. (who btw still see's themselves as middle class) lol. The poor working class shop at 99 cent stores, Wallmart, swap meets. and yes, now even Target. The upper class prefer deliveries of food and merchandise now from Amazon, and grocery stores who deliver, because of the hassle and time involved to shop now. There used to be customer service. Now its self check out, and no greeting. Just disconnect. Most of us enjoy malls only to people watch, eat a meal, or watch movie. And boy is people watching a train wreck now.lol Keeping up appearances is certainly gone as well. Shopping at Sears is unfortunately not what Milennials and newer consumers could fathom doing anymore. They prefer to do everything in the confines of their home in front of their smart TV, and smart phones. A different world entirely.

alexguskov25 : Looks like the guy orchestrated for it to fall and still line his pockets , since Sears owes himself all that money it's a long con. I have fond memories because every Saturday my brother and I would go to Sears to watch Saturday Morning Cartoons. We were poor and otherwise couldn't afford a Tv back than and from 8 to 11 we watched all those cartoons on the staging floor. Until we could finally buy our own TV. Good Times.😁

Adam Story : I’m only 36, and my house was fully furnished by Sears. They used to be awesome. Two years ago, my under warranty fridge died. It took us 1 week to get a repair man whom didn’t have the parts. 2 weeks to get the parts. 2 hours for it to die again. Another week to get the repair guy to return. Then another two weeks for him to get the same said part. After that, they told us that we couldn’t get a replacement until 3 repairs and 90 days. This isn’t a TV, it’s a refrigerator, we need that to live in a US lifestyle. (I understand that seems snobby, but there isn’t a good way to adapt quickly to a life without refrigeration here)

Adam Baldwin : Shopping at a Sears or KMart in 2018 feels pretty dang similar to how it did back in 1988. And while I could easily see Walmart feeling the same 20 years from now, Walmart's main draw is its pricing. I don't recall people shopping at Sears for the bottom line best price. In fact, Craftsman might be a good example (btw I didn't realize they had sold that off). Craftsman tools were never the cheapest or the best quality, but they had lifetime warranties on hand tools. That means if you break the damn thing by being stupid and putting a 4-foot breaker bar on the end of your ratchet handle, you just bring it back to the store and they give you a new one. That's a pretty big deal. I worked at a Sears Hardware when I was younger and when I saw how that worked I pretty much bought exclusively Craftsman hand tools, just in case I broke them (which I did fairly often... they're not *bad* really, but they're not Snap-On quality for sure). But that's the thing, when the store hasn't changed basically at all in 30 years, the pricing isn't spectacular, the selection isn't great, there's pretty much no reason to shop at that store. Here's the thing: if you want to buy an appliance, keep an eye on Best Buy because they have some insane deals. If you want to buy a TV, your best bet is Microcenter if there is one near you, or even Best Buy. If you want to buy clothes... come on, who buys clothes from Sears? Seriously, what does Sears do well? I would have said their hardware stores, but even those have gone down the toilet (our local one is now part of the main Sears location instead of being its own separate location). Their brand isn't a go-to anymore, and there's otherwise no compelling reason for new customers to get drawn in. And to think back in the 50's and 60's they actually had their own line of legendary products like their cheap amps and guitars which went on to be used by many musicians because, despite their low price, they were actually great, well-made products. Sears has no reason for existence anymore. It's only a matter of time before they're finally gone completely.

B. Thomas : I was a manager at Sears before and during the time Sears acquired K-Mart. Sears was loosing focus. They still had the strongest sales at the time in appliances and tools, but they were loosing ground everywhere else. They did a survey and asked us were we would like to see the company go. We all screamed the internet, AND to distance ourselves from Walmart by bringing in high end, quality brands. You see, Sears USE to be about high end brands, quality brands at a reasonable price, with a guarantee of satisfaction, or your money back and they'd ship it straight to your door. Exactly like Amazon right now. Walmart is about the price, but they did not offer the best, the top of the line but they did offer a guarantee. Both Amazon and Walmart adopted successful practices from Sears, not the other way around. Sears forgot that. They acquired K-mart in order to compete with Walmart, introduced shopping carts, stuffed the isles so full of product shoppers complained about not being able to move around, and got pissy about returns. I left before it got THAT bad because I knew Walmart would win that fight. Sears didn't have a chance. I'm just surprised at how long they held on.

michelinman 8592 : I am not be in my 50's or 60's, I am in my 20's. That being said, I can still relate to Sears (through the good and the bad.) I practically grew up going there with my parents. New appliance required? Sears. New TV or radio? Sears. New lawnmower, air hockey table, clothes, tools??? SEARS!!! Heck, half of our car service history was through their auto center. Did we have a lot of money? Hell no. Despite their decline, they always had deep cut sales, so we got good stuff cheap. I have no relation to my "age group" and stand with this: I don't like that 'internet company' crap, I'll gladly go to a physical brick and mortar store until the day I die.

Bruce wayne : Now if we can get the middle school to teach by webinar we could save on our taxes so wish Eddie could help destroy the brick and mortar schools would that be so nice

Jessy Negron : Im still working in Sears, tomorrow my shift starts at 9 and I’m here watching this video lmao

LolaLink : I remember being really hyped in the late 90s for the Sears Christmas catalogue, and I remember my aunt who lived far away ordering a pair of jeans for me that we picked up at our Sears distribution center. Kind of funny that looking back, although I never thought much about Sears (I was also born in '93, well after Sears' heyday) it was similiar to Amazon

LeakyDiaper : SEARS was my first job in the mid 90's. After 4 years with them, I saw this coming then. It used to be personal. 1-4 associates in any department meant you could actually sell people products. You could spend time with the customer, not be in a rush and get them everything they needed. Associates were trained and educated on the products. You could talk, chat, build a relationship with customers. We were given full authority to take care of any customer problems. Returns, exchanges, complaints, discounts, ect. Never needed a managers approval. Also registers in every department meant you didn't have to wait in line. You could check out anywhere. I guess people just don't need people anymore.

Vincent Locollo : WERE WILL THE BRADY'S SHOP NOW!!!!!!!!!

Brian The Explorer : Lampert has an perfect exit plan once Sears goes under, just wait and see.

Fernando Fernandez : You need to stop looking at these as people trying to run a successful business and instead look at it as people trying to make as much money as quickly as possible, by any means necessary. He also probably funneled any profits made at Sears to his hedge fund so he could use the capital gains tax loophole and avoided paying millions in taxes.

Marc Black : Money laundering sounds like the reason to me.

JackTheLion : The Aldous Snow reference doesn't make sense because the conclusion of that movie is how he is now popular again, making good music and is sober.

Kaynos : Go to a Sears in the 80's. Go to a Sears in 2010's. Same thing. That's why they failed.

Wonder Waffle : Well here’s a long mess of a story Been around since 93 and though I never really shopped there, my dad did, and I always would along with him there. From my understanding he would get most of his appliances there, especially Craftsman. Usually it would be his go to spot before heading to Lowe’s. I’d still recall heading there early in the morning whenever we would go into town to get stuff for whatever big projects for the house he was getting ready for. Around my time after high school though I wouldn’t really go to look around, usually I would just burn right through the store and go straight into the mall. Nothing really caught my attention. Sometime around college I got my job at the Carmike theater(now owned and run by AMC) and really throughout the 3 years I been there I would never really consider going into Sears. The few times that I did it would usually be due to getting a shirt to wear for special movie events at work, like Star Wars, and then the one time I forgot my work belt. From those few times though I would notice how stale and bland the store would be, along with it feeling emptier and emptier. Not only that but I remember how stupidly priced the stuff would be, heck I think I spent about 30$ buying a belt due to being in a rush to clock in. Not even a fancy brand, just some generic belt you could probably find WAY cheaper somewhere else. That Sears is now long gone, the building is there but it’s gutted out and empty. And though I wasn’t a loyal and big customer like my dad, I kinda DO miss it. Like, I remember as I got older it would feel nostalgic in there, reminding me of days me and my dad would go in there just to look around, even if we didn’t have anything in mind we would still look around and see what deals and new things they would get. We also made friends with one of the workers there that was there for well...I wanna say since as long as I could remember. He was probably the most friendliest worker there, always greeting us with open arms and always giving us a “god bless you I’ll see you around!” Whenever we would leave. Always addressing us by our name too. Sure his job was to be a salesmen but he was good at keeping a conversation and wouldn’t try to go for a upsale or squeezing in a sale to us whenever we would just talk. He treated us and pretty much anybody who would walk in like a friend. Last I saw him was coming across him late at the gas station after a late night movie premiere. This was probably around the summer, and it was months after his sears closed. Really felt for the guy, I could tell it’s been rough just by how he looked. Heck he even had the same coat he would always wear at Sears on minus the tie, we talked for a little and he was telling me how he just left church and was heading home with his family but he pretty much told me that even with such a sudden retirement he still wanted to work and as he put it, “Sears is all I known. There’s really not another job I want or a job that wants a salesmen like me. I miss it, but I’m sure I’ll find something.” Sure folks will find this silly but that really hit me hard. Like you said, a bunch of people got affected by the decline, and man did I witness that in person. Crazy, especially how much it could hit somebody that worked there for years and was pretty much well known in the community.

Ryan Clancy : Save yourself 14 mins. The answer is Eddie Lampert. He's like a spider who set a trap to feed himself and his hedge fund.

Bron Zeage : Sears doomed itself when they dropped their catalog and did not replace it with online sales. If they had done this, and done it right, Amazon would not exist today. It's doubtful they could have managed it. Inefficiencies and poor accounting methods made their warehouse system a drain on profits because it was impossible to calculate the true cost of their big ticket items. They could sell a refrigerator for $1000, which they bought from Whirlpool for $600, and not know what the true profit margin was, because shipping, handling, inventory costs, etc, could not be determined.

Noorwamohammed N : memorial mall sears closed sorry if you live in Houston

Brice Howard : "Eddie a hustla'" - Black guy.

cheung0317 : You hit the nail on the head about BAD customer service. You could be in the store for hours and no one ever offers to help you. Their employees are just there to hold down the carpet. I'm glad Sears went under and all those lazy workers along with it.

VideoNOLA : You've heard of Amazon Lockers over at Whole Foods? Guess where they got that idea. Sears! That's right, we used to order merchandise from the catalog, wait for a phone call when it arrived at the local Sears store, then go pick it up from a special counter. Was awesome!

Pyramid Never : Sears just hit me up for a sales position, so I checked Glassdoor and they're like a 2.7/5 stars. YIKES.