I’ve lost track of the number of discussions over the years about various strategies used by Sears Holdings to “leverage its assets” rather than fixing what’s broken. MetaScale is a data management service (pitched to other retailers) that represents the latest opportunity to avoid spending capital in stores or updating the merchandise content. Here’s my comment from RetailWire:
There is a long list of specialists in providing data services and information management especially to retailers — such as IBM, SAP, SAS and others. This looks like yet another attempt by Sears Holdings to avoid dealing with its core problem: The lack of capital spending and compelling merchandise in its stores.
If the methodology behind MetaScale were so effective, wouldn’t we all be talking about Sears’ great results in supply chain and inventory management? Sears Holdings ended 2011 with 5% less inventory but also had a gross margin decrease from 27.2% to 25.5% — not exactly worthy of bragging rights.