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.

Aaron Landry : It would seem that Eddie Lampert didn’t buy Sears to run Sears, but bought it to lower its value and sell off its assets to himself at a lower resulting price. To put it in terms of cars, he bought a car not to drive it, but to sell it for parts

agrowingpain : I stopped shopping at sears due to the high price tag on their merchandise. What's the point in paying a premium, when I can get the same brand at Target, Amazon or Walmart for a better deal.

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.

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.

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.

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

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*

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

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

jbarthol : I remember starting to work with Sears in 1998. One of the first things out of my then bosses mouth was "Walmart is not our competition, we don't care for those types of customers". I knew there was going to be trouble in the next few years or decades. That attitude is what got them in trouble. Never ignore your competition even if you think they are beneath you.

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.

DracoSuave : Sears: has a business model based around delivering merchandise to people through a catalog; decided the Internet didn't figure into this business.

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.

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

MoonFairy929 : Sears was gonna go. Lambert saw an opportunity to bleed it dry slowly.

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

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.

Joshua Perkings : The reason Sears along with JC Penney, RadioShack, K Mart, Macys and many other stores declined is as simple as they failed to lower their prices like their competitors. Even until most recently, Sears would be the store you would buy a $10 worth smartphone charger for $30 or a $600 worth TV for $1200 +. Sure they had seasonal sales and discounts but the vast majority of their items, most of the time were sold for full retail price with unappealing discounts. This hurt their business... not online shopping, but being stubborn to their sales.

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.

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

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

Fnoigy : Of course he's destroying the company on purpose. This is what Wall Street does. Destroy thousands of jobs, then walk off with executive severance packages worth more than all our careers put together, then go on and do it to another company. That's also why it's terrifying to have a Wall Street executive as president of the US. The same is happening to the entire nation now.

gummywurms226 : I worked at Sears from 2012-2015. The problem was manly the stores. During one of the training meetings we had. They showed a clip of an episode of The Brady Bunch where they walked through a Sears store. IT LOOKED THE SAME AS IT DOES NOW. I'm not joking the store I worked at was built in 1982 and hadn't seen a remodel since. At most they painted the walls. Hell the only difference between when I was a kid and when I worked there was the lack of N64 demos in the kids section. Retail is like food, customers shop with their eyes first. If your store looks like it fell out of the 80's/90's no one is going to shop there, in the 2000's. Don't get me started on the Ipad system they tried, or the issues with mattress delivery. Not to mention corporate treating employees like shit. Store management was good for the most part(until they hired a Store Manager that treated people like shit.) On a positive note I loved their Protection Agreements. My parents bought a display refrigerator for $2000ish (including taxes,PA, etc.) closeout price. Discovered that it had a leak and they gave them the full $3400 MSRP to buy a new one.

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

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)

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

Benjamin Acosta : What do you know about Sears in Mexico? They seem to be their only branch to actually be going well. Sears Mexico is owned by none other than Carlos Slim himself and the news about them is that business is growing.

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.

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

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

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.

Caldwell Transport Columbus, GA : Lampert is a classic corporate raider, or in this case, a corporate scavenger. Some vultures aren't above putting their dying prey out of their misery before diving in to get the freshest meat you know.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

Foxmakesmodels : A $1000 chair... pricing put them out

Kristopher Tower : the sears where i live is always dead.....theres a lowes hardware on one side and a best buy on the other.....the parking lot is always empty meanwhile the lowes and best buy is always packed.....theyre screwed

Adam Pena : Can you do a video about Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores? It is a completely different company that is doing well, compared to the original Sears

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.

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.

Amy Etkind : Maximum extraction, into his own pockets. Does “Vulture Capitalist” ring any bells? Eddie cares about Eddie. Not customers, not employees. Himself.

Jim Thomson : Sears & Kmart were in decline before Eddie stepped in. When Lampert bought Sears & Kmart, he did so because of their real estate holdings, which he believed could be leveraged to create the next Berkshire Hathaway. The problem came when mall real estate took a nosedive, diminishing its value. Eddie never had much interest in running a retail business, and this occurred during a time of great change in supply chain integration and e-commerce, neither of which he invested in. It's questionable whether a retail professional could have saved either Sears or Kmart, but someone disinterested in retail certainly couldn't.

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

Bruce wayne : I really never shop at Sears I am older than you once they took the warranties off the tape measures I do not care for them anymore go to Menards for cheaper price Why Pay More so Sears is killing himself but they had a great run there's time for like any other thing to be extinct and a good thing is more stores will be extinct Amazon is doing a great job

Captain C.H. : Born in the late 70's. ( Way before the internet ). We had J.C.Penny Christmas Catalogue and Sears Christmas Catalogue. We would circle the toys we wanted for Christmas. When I was 14. I worked for Walmart. There were no such thing as Super Centers then. Company policy was... You had to wear Dress pants ( Khakis ) and a button down shirt. You also had to greet anyone within 10 feet of you. We closed at 9 p.m. and closed all day on Sunday. Customer service is mostly gone everywhere.