RIP, Sears

This little teaser from the LATimes caught my eye:

Sears was once the most dominant retailer in America. After 125 years in business, it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with plans to close more than 100 stores but remain open during the holiday season as it seeks to reorganize. The move has been a long time coming. Hedge fund manager Edward Lampert, who took control of the company more than a dozen years ago, has made cuts in an effort to keep Sears afloat. He has also carved out some choice assets for himself.

The N.Y. Times headline calls Sears “the Original Everything Store,” a play on Amazon as “The Everything Store.”

Lampert, as you may recall, is an avid Ayn Rand fanboi (he named his 288-foot yacht The Fountainhead, after the novel), who actually tried to put her Libertarian economic philosophy/nonsense into action at Sears, with predictable results. Oh, about those choice assets? He spun off Lands End for himself, and looks like Kenmore is about to be liberated to his genius, too. Craftsman brands, unbelievably, was spun off also. The mind boggles.

Lampert is stepping down as CEO, but he remains on the board.

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12 Responses to RIP, Sears

  1. MDavis says:

    It was 1998 when we moved into a new place and found an offer for a Sears credit card in our mail. We had a major appliance failure within a week and so became a Sears credit customer. Once we paid off the card, we got our first bill for 0 dollars and 0 cents. The next month we got a late charge for not paying that bill.
    They refused to remove that charge. We had to pay it to close the card.
    Sears was in trouble before that hedge fund manager got there, apparently at least five years later. Makes sense to me, in a way. The werewolf will go after the weakest critters in the flock.
    ‘Tis a pity, though. I have fond memories of wandering that flagship store down in the Soho of Seattle. I liked their yarn and crafts section. Had a specialty book from there for years. (I seem to remember they had a wonky hallway, but that could be an earlier memory from outings with mom)
    RIP, Sears, you old zombie.

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  2. Jim says:

    For a long time the “everything store” as a physical retail entity was just not a workable idea, if only on the basis of inventory. Their highly original (at the time) mail order concept was Amazon a hundred years before Amazon. By the 1990s, Sears was certainly not selling “everything” and their service department was terrible. Lampert was just another predator like Willard Romney implementing a disastrous business plan based on further enriching himself without regard to what happened to the company he ran.

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  3. mcdee says:

    It is a sad commentary on our times that the level of “leadership” in this country in business, politics, the military and clergy runs from mediocre, at best, to incompetent and to, as in Lampert’s case, malevolent.

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  4. moeman says:

    Lots of coal miner jobs available.

    Of course I kid.

    Sears shut down up here in Canada a few years back. Speaking of spinning, I lucked out at one of their liquidation sales and snagged a nice Kenmore washer/dryer combo (floor demos, 70% off).

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  5. When I was a kid, about 9 or 10, a Sears came to town. It seemed like the most exciting thing in the world… no more catalog! Real live shopping! I took sewing classes there after getting a Kenmore sewing machine.

    The last thing I bought at Sears was a Kenmore washer and dryer in July 2001. Unlike M Davis above, I had no issues and that was a great washer dryer for 6 years until I sold the house.

    The local Sears here went out of business a couple of years ago. It was an anchor at a local mall. Now it is a Whole Foods on what was the first floor and empty on the second…

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  6. w3ski4me says:

    I still remember the “whole earth catalog” , yes I am that old. I never bought a house from Sears, but I’ve equipped a few.
    As much as I love Amazon, I just can’t see getting a washer and dryer online.
    w3ski

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