Sears…too early for a post-mortem?

One of the favorite Retail Wire topics is the demise of Sears Holdings. It may be premature for the funeral, but it is never too soon for the diagnosis of what went wrong. There are so many issues at play here, it’s hard to know where to begin. Many of my fellow panelists have had plenty to say on this subject going back to the Sears/Kmart deal five years ago:

1. The original deal looks more and more like a financial “play” rather than a legitimate attempt to make something strong out of two weak players, and Kmart should have been killed a long time ago;
2. From everything reported about Lampert’s leadership style, he’s made it impossible to hire a CEO with real autonomy or merchandising chops…and has now made it impossible to fill the job at all;
3. The lack of capital investment in the business, as sales have spiraled downward, has only fed the negative comps. There are so many category killers (Lowe’s, Best Buy) and midtier retailers (Target, Kohl’s) providing more attractive shopping options to the worn-out neighborhood Sears store.

I could go on and on…but the other panelists will have plenty to say on this subject today.


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