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(Chicago Trib)   Sears is closing its flagship store in Chicago's Loop, effectively ending an era and putting the penultimate nail in the coffin   (chicagotribune.com) divider line 55
    More: Sad, Loop, Chicago, department stores, Canadian Business, Sears Holdings, Hoffman Estates, big-box retailers, flagship  
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1145 clicks; posted to Business » on 22 Jan 2014 at 2:35 AM (12 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-21 11:58:11 PM
i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?
 
2014-01-22 01:20:11 AM

Livingroom: i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?


Sears is better than Amazon. Not only do they have everything, but they also have employees who can help you decide which of 100 vacuum cleaners best fit your needs, -AND- when you walk out of Sears you have what you need in your hands. Right then. That day. Immediately. You don't have to wait for delivery. Did I mention their knowledgeable employees? Those people know everything!
 
2014-01-22 01:29:25 AM
Watcha you talking about Willis?
 
2014-01-22 01:57:31 AM
Sears revolutionized the retail industry by offering people mail order products. And Amazon is killing them off. What's old is new again. I wouldn't feel so bad about it if my company wasn't being strangled by Amazon and other internet retailers as well.
 
2014-01-22 02:16:54 AM

Livingroom: i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?


A dumbass CEO.
 
2014-01-22 02:45:07 AM

Sgt Otter: Livingroom: i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?

A dumbass CEO.


Maybe people will begin to realize that people who deify Ayn Rand should not be trusted with power.
 
2014-01-22 02:46:49 AM

Sgt Otter: Livingroom: i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?

A dumbass CEO.


They were going down long before him. But he killed any chance they may have had...
 
2014-01-22 02:48:39 AM

Livingroom: i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?


May surprise some, but Sears was always a clueless dickhead sort of chain store.

A few decades back, one guy simply wanted to do some home improvement like siding. Sears gave them a bid that was totally incompetent and wayyyyyy overpriced for the task at hand. Sears was gouging the crap out of homeowners, and they didn't care. Where else was the little peon gonna go? Hur Hur Hur!

That person decided it was time to start his own business so other homeowners won't get jerked around by Sears like he was.

That man was the man who founded Home Depot.

So again, Sears was always a dickhead store. It just took all this time for the rot to finally stink.
 
2014-01-22 02:54:31 AM

Notabunny: Livingroom: i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?

Sears is better than Amazon. Not only do they have everything, but they also have employees who can help you decide which of 100 vacuum cleaners best fit your needs, -AND- when you walk out of Sears you have what you need in your hands. Right then. That day. Immediately. You don't have to wait for delivery. Did I mention their knowledgeable employees? Those people know everything!


I think you're being sarcastic but I can't tell.

I like the leaving immediately with stuff, but I think the 100 vacuum cleaners is, presumably, an exaggeration and the repeated "knowledgeable employees" seems to be the "sarcastic" part which makes me wonder if the entire post was sarcasm.

But, maybe you've found a good one?
 
2014-01-22 02:55:42 AM

Sgt Otter: Livingroom: i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?

A dumbass CEO.


I was told Ayn Rand was an expert in all things financial.  I mean she was smart enough to get Social Security and Medicare...
 
2014-01-22 03:16:04 AM

TV's Vinnie: Livingroom: i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?

May surprise some, but Sears was always a clueless dickhead sort of chain store.

A few decades back, one guy simply wanted to do some home improvement like siding. Sears gave them a bid that was totally incompetent and wayyyyyy overpriced for the task at hand. Sears was gouging the crap out of homeowners, and they didn't care. Where else was the little peon gonna go? Hur Hur Hur!

That person decided it was time to start his own business so other homeowners won't get jerked around by Sears like he was.

That man was the man who founded Home Depot.

So again, Sears was always a dickhead store. It just took all this time for the rot to finally stink.


Didn't Sears contract that work out to independant contractors? The only service they provided was setting a price and acting as the middle man for the customer and the contractor? The same thing that Home Depot does?
 
2014-01-22 03:21:42 AM
Sears is still in business?

Last time I went there they had slim pickings in terms of merchandise, their store was messy as shiat like they stopped hiring janitorial workers. Even their video game section was a travesty. I remember going there as a kid and there would be a massive group of kids and young adults waiting to play demos of the games, and now the only customers I saw there were senior citizens probably trying to find something to get their grandchildren, and stoners who were probably bored.

Customer service was non-existant. Apparently they only order 5 of every popular item and it gets sold out within the first half of the day. I think I wanted an X-Box or a PS3 or a Wii or something and was too lazy to order from Amazon and I was in the vicinity of Sears and thought I'd give it a try. Apparently they only kept 5 in stock at the time when it was near Christmas season and it took a week for them to get them replenished. And the raincheck list was so long that I'd have to wait 4 weeks for whatever I wanted.

So I just went home and ordered it off Amazon and had it shipped to my front door in a few days.

/css
 
2014-01-22 03:23:14 AM
In upstate NY, the attorney general ordered Sears to close all their auto centers due to excessive nonstop gouging.
 
2014-01-22 03:31:36 AM
graphics8.nytimes.com

I remember when the Republicans were outraged that their own supporters were mocking Senator John Kerry's service in Vietnam and his purple heart awards instead of honorably challenging their Democrat opponent to George W. Bush on his ideas and policy proposals.

I think I was injecting marijuana at the time, but I think that was how history really happened. I also think I had taken a few blows to the head, now that I'm starting to remember. But yeah, I think that's what happened.
 
2014-01-22 03:32:25 AM
Wow wrong thread. I need to stop Farking while drunk.
 
2014-01-22 03:33:36 AM
Then again this is a thread about Sears. So noone really cares what goes on in here anyway, just like Sears.
 
2014-01-22 03:47:54 AM

TV's Vinnie: Livingroom: i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?

May surprise some, but Sears was always a clueless dickhead sort of chain store.

A few decades back, one guy simply wanted to do some home improvement like siding. Sears gave them a bid that was totally incompetent and wayyyyyy overpriced for the task at hand. Sears was gouging the crap out of homeowners, and they didn't care. Where else was the little peon gonna go? Hur Hur Hur!

That person decided it was time to start his own business so other homeowners won't get jerked around by Sears like he was.

That man was the man who founded Home Depot.

So again, Sears was always a dickhead store. It just took all this time for the rot to finally stink.


why go to Sears when he worked at a home improvement store?
/smells like BS
//or teen spirit
 
2014-01-22 03:48:51 AM

Weatherkiss: Then again this is a thread about Sears. So noone really cares what goes on in here anyway, just like Sears.


To be fair, they had Craftsman Tools.  Tool with a lifetime warranty. If it broke, you could get it replaced... no question asked.  Grandfather loved his Craftsman tools.
 
2014-01-22 04:00:06 AM

Darth_Lukecash: Weatherkiss: Then again this is a thread about Sears. So noone really cares what goes on in here anyway, just like Sears.

To be fair, they had Craftsman Tools.  Tool with a lifetime warranty. If it broke, you could get it replaced... no question asked.  Grandfather loved his Craftsman tools.


I had to mow my back yard with a Craftsman lawnmower from Sears. That piece of shiat was heavy as hell, and I was rarely strong enough to get it started. I busted my upper lip on the handlebars when it jerked my entire body back towards the engine one summer.

Then it got stolen a year or so ago. I was never so happy to have something stolen in my life, it gave me plenty of reason to get a much smaller and lighter lawnmower.
 
2014-01-22 04:00:30 AM

Darth_Lukecash: Weatherkiss: Then again this is a thread about Sears. So noone really cares what goes on in here anyway, just like Sears.

To be fair, they had Craftsman Tools.  Tool with a lifetime warranty. If it broke, you could get it replaced... no question asked.  Grandfather loved his Craftsman tools.


Yeah, back then. You need a receipt now.

/and wouldn't you know it? You had better photocopy, because those heat printed ones fade in a month
//forget the older stuff
///the tools were the only reason to go into Sears in the first place
 
2014-01-22 06:44:11 AM

Livingroom: i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?


They got bought by a guy who tried to manage them according to Randian principles.
 
2014-01-22 07:04:56 AM

Livingroom: i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?


Two words: Eddie Lampert. He's actually doing to Sears what he did to Kmart.

Lampert is not a business manager. He is a pure investor. All he knows how to do is improve stock indexes, he doesn't know how to run companies. Both Sears and Kmart have been drowning for years, but what kept them valuable was their property -- both owned thousands of retail outlets. Perfect for a strip-and-sell investor.

This is a simplified version, but what Lampert did with Kmart was take controlling interest of the company and reorganized all of its debt into shares. By selling off its stores over time, corporate earnings remained in the black for several years despite no increase in sales or traffic. Good quarterly reports is all that matters to investors, so as a result the stock price inflated 600%. Lampert then milked the stocks for cash, which he then used to fund other investments Warren Buffett style.

In 2005, he bought Sears and basically merged the two companies. Then he instituted some weird unethical Objectivism experiment on the store's departments and employees, turning it into a dysfunctional, anarchic, selfish free for all.

This is the result.
 
2014-01-22 07:05:24 AM

Weatherkiss: Sears is still in business?

Last time I went there they had slim pickings in terms of merchandise, their store was messy as shiat like they stopped hiring janitorial workers. Even their video game section was a travesty. I remember going there as a kid and there would be a massive group of kids and young adults waiting to play demos of the games, and now the only customers I saw there were senior citizens probably trying to find something to get their grandchildren, and stoners who were probably bored.

Customer service was non-existant. Apparently they only order 5 of every popular item and it gets sold out within the first half of the day. I think I wanted an X-Box or a PS3 or a Wii or something and was too lazy to order from Amazon and I was in the vicinity of Sears and thought I'd give it a try. Apparently they only kept 5 in stock at the time when it was near Christmas season and it took a week for them to get them replenished. And the raincheck list was so long that I'd have to wait 4 weeks for whatever I wanted.

So I just went home and ordered it off Amazon and had it shipped to my front door in a few days.

/css


Wait. You want to a store because you were too lazy to order from Amazon? That's like running a marathon because you were too lazy to walk to the mailbox.
 
2014-01-22 07:27:37 AM

Peki: ///the tools were the only reason to go into Sears in the first place


Sears was a good choice for furniture 30 years ago when I got my first apartment.  I gave the table I got for my dining room to my nephew this summer for his first apartment.  It was solidly built and still looked fine.   We went to Sears to see what they had for sofas for my nephew.  The choices were VERY disappointing.
 
2014-01-22 07:28:56 AM
From the headline I thought this was about letting Chicago FOAD.
 
2014-01-22 07:31:51 AM
It's the second-to-last nail in the coffin? What would be the last nail?
 
2014-01-22 07:57:00 AM

Ishkur: Livingroom: i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?

Two words: Eddie Lampert. He's actually doing to Sears what he did to Kmart.

Lampert is not a business manager. He is a pure investor. All he knows how to do is improve stock indexes, he doesn't know how to run companies. Both Sears and Kmart have been drowning for years, but what kept them valuable was their property -- both owned thousands of retail outlets. Perfect for a strip-and-sell investor.

This is a simplified version, but what Lampert did with Kmart was take controlling interest of the company and reorganized all of its debt into shares. By selling off its stores over time, corporate earnings remained in the black for several years despite no increase in sales or traffic. Good quarterly reports is all that matters to investors, so as a result the stock price inflated 600%. Lampert then milked the stocks for cash, which he then used to fund other investments Warren Buffett style.

In 2005, he bought Sears and basically merged the two companies. Then he instituted some weird unethical Objectivism experiment on the store's departments and employees, turning it into a dysfunctional, anarchic, selfish free for all.

This is the result.


So very unfortunate.

Sears broke ground as a mail order company back in the late 1800s. The founder was a genius. He created the coffee table catalog where you could order something and it'd come in via the mail. This appealed to the rural folk who could not always get into town to buy what they wanted or needed.

I grew up going to Sears in the 70s and early 80s. I salivated over their Christmas catalog toy section. Younger people don't know, don't care, but they were very much 'Amazon-like' before Amazon was ever anything.

Sad to see it run into the ground.
 
2014-01-22 08:16:21 AM

optikeye: Watcha you talking about Willis?


Niiice.
 
2014-01-22 08:23:03 AM
It's sad, because we bought our fridge, washer and dryer from sears, and they've been nothing but great. Say what you might about their stores, their appliance delivery and home services are friendly and competent in my experience.
 
2014-01-22 08:40:52 AM
They never kept with the times in terms of the "shopping experience".  That has always been what shopping is really about.  First, catalogs were cool.  Then department stores.  Then amazon.com.  But I still go to the store for alot of stuff, and the mall is still packed because of people wanting to experience a way to get out and explore new stuff to buy.

They closed the downtown Houston store too, within 5 years of downtown Houston becoming revitalized.  But it was a run down piece of crap, with no store front windows, no history, no excitement, or anything.  It's not like they couldn't see Amazon coming.  It's been well over a decade...
 
2014-01-22 08:51:12 AM
Around 2007 I needed a new fridge. Went to Sears, found one I liked, but the salesman told me "It's the last model and we don't have one in the warehouse. We can't have an open space on the floor." (which they would've if they'd sold me that one).

Walked out. Never been back.
 
2014-01-22 08:51:38 AM

Notabunny: Livingroom: i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?

Sears is better than Amazon. Not only do they have everything, but they also have employees who can help you decide which of 100 vacuum cleaners best fit your needs, -AND- when you walk out of Sears you have what you need in your hands. Right then. That day. Immediately. You don't have to wait for delivery. Did I mention their knowledgeable employees? Those people know everything!


Maybe at your Sears, but at mine they're minimum wage fools.

Not so CSB:

My friend brought her car in for an oil change at Sears. They found a problem with the right a frame ball, and then started trying to run up the bill. They put penetrating oil on a rusty bolt and said they'd leave it for a day. She needed her car, and asked me my opinion. I called my mechanic.

Oh, did I mention that they said they would call the cops if she tried to take the car because it was unsafe? My mechanic laughed at that one. Anyway I grew up in a shop, you had a rusty bolt, you tried the penetrating oil for an hour or so, if that didn't work you took the torch out and broke the bolt free.

The worst was I brought a trailer to hook the car up and they didn't even bother to assemble the car right. I'm surprised the thing made it on the trailer. I had to use a skid steer to get it off the trailer. The a frame wasn't fully attached!

She didn't pay for the time on the rack, but boy did I go in their and give the service manager a thought or two. Not the least of which was a demand that they give her the oil change money back because it could've ruined the driveshaft. I also called the regional manager over that and the false claim of calling the cops.

Thieving morons. YMMV, but I wouldn't bring my car to Sears for anything after that horse-puckey.

End not so cool CSB
 
2014-01-22 08:58:13 AM
Edward Lampert, Sears chairman and CEO, said in a letter posted on Sears Holdings' website. "But we've also carefully studied where other retailers went wrong and how they failed to adapt to changes."

Maybe you should study where YOU went wrong.   Or you could just take another fat bonus and keep rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

But, seriously, it's sad to see.   Sears was my grandparent's Amazon.com.  Every-farking-thing in their house came from Sears, including the massive amount of tools in the workshed.  And the large steel workshed.

Come take a walk with me, Mr. Lampert, through my local Sears.  I'll farking show you where you went wrong.

//I must have drank an extra large cup of cynicism this morning...
 
2014-01-22 09:04:54 AM
The Loop store isn't the "flagship" it's a small store, opened in 2001. There was no Sears store downtown for decades before that. It's hardly the end of an era.
 
2014-01-22 09:05:51 AM

plcow: and the mall is still packed because of people wanting to experience a way to get out and explore new stuff to buy.


It is?  I guess it depends on the mall, but it seems to me there's maybe 1-2 semi-thriving malls per large metro area, and even they aren't particularly full except for a few 'black friday'/'last minute before Christmas' days.  Most malls around here fall somewhere between dead and dying.
 
2014-01-22 09:11:55 AM

Livingroom: i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?


Decades of management by people who have never worked in retail. Currently it's run by a person who made his money in investment manipulation.
 
2014-01-22 09:13:08 AM
I can't believe they still had a Sears in the Loop.  Are people riding the El over there to purchase Craftsman riding mowers?
 
2014-01-22 09:16:30 AM

Paris1127: Sgt Otter: Livingroom: i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?

A dumbass CEO.

Maybe people will begin to realize that people who deify Ayn Rand should not be trusted with power. locked up.


Fixed that for you.
 
2014-01-22 09:20:41 AM
Richard Sears started the company by selling watches via spam over telegraph lines.

I think the last thing I've bought from Sears were some $8 shirts on clearance.
 
2014-01-22 09:39:19 AM
Just die already, sears. That way I can talk to the liquidator and buy some decent fixtures off your West Hartford store (tv antenna, dish).
 
2014-01-22 09:58:09 AM

tarkus1980: It's the second-to-last nail in the coffin? What would be the last nail?


Based on Ishkur's comment above, if Lampert could start doing to the remaining Sears assets what he did to Kmart.   Since it can now be shown as a clear example of controlling interests trying to destroy a company.  Oh wait, from the article above it looks like he is already doing that.

Not a prediction; but I think that the coffin will be if Amazon or other large online retailers start buying up strategic Sears locations and turning them into additional warehouse space to provide rapid fulfillment.
 
2014-01-22 10:17:32 AM

Seequinn: Not a prediction; but I think that the coffin will be if Amazon or other large online retailers start buying up strategic Sears locations and turning them into additional warehouse space to provide rapid fulfillment.


Sears, Best Buy, all the brick-and-mortars will fuse with online shops (or move to a mostly-online model) eventually.

Having that much open floor space is expensive when people aren't buying from you, and as Amazon rolls out faster and faster deliveries (in most cities, 2 days isn't out of the ordinary), the "having it now" premium is less and less attractive. Going online is the only way to be able to compete on price.

// and I wonder if they'll ever enforce sales tax online
 
2014-01-22 10:33:23 AM

Lawnchair: plcow: and the mall is still packed because of people wanting to experience a way to get out and explore new stuff to buy.

It is?  I guess it depends on the mall, but it seems to me there's maybe 1-2 semi-thriving malls per large metro area, and even they aren't particularly full except for a few 'black friday'/'last minute before Christmas' days.  Most malls around here fall somewhere between dead and dying.


I guess youre right.  I am just thinking of Houston.  Here there ain't sh*t else to do besides eat at nice restaurants, drink, and shop.
 
2014-01-22 10:38:22 AM
Sears has all kinds of problems but that just wasn't a good location for a store like Sears. It's not like they sell high end merchandise to markup and the rent alone was going to make it hard to make a profit.
 
2014-01-22 10:49:54 AM
I love Sears. I was in there last weekend and it was fairly busy.
 
2014-01-22 11:28:11 AM
Tl; DR: story:

I bought clearance merchanside at sears.com with ship to store.

Got the email:  "Your order is ready for pickup at sote"

Drove 40 miles for over an hour in ice and blowing snow to Merchaise Pickup.

"When did you order this?"  "How?"  "We dont' have it"  They alwasy think we have stock taht we don't have...."

Another hour of my time wasted as they figure how to refund only part of my money, but hey, I got 2 $5 coupons good for discount on overpriced store merchandise only and expires in 6 weeks.

I called.  Can't get what I ordered.  No way.  No how. "We apologize for the misunderstanding"  - that would be ME "misunderstanding" that "Your order is ready for pickup" means that they have your order, in hand, picked and ready for pickup.

Do America a favor, Sears: Close down everything to save hours of wasted lifetimes. It's obvious that you don't want to sell stuff.  It's obvious that you don't want customers.  It's obvious that your employees don't' want to be there.Stop pretending otherwise.
 
2014-01-22 12:19:13 PM

netringer:  It's obvious that your employees don't' want to be there.Stop pretending otherwise.


When I bought my house a couple of years ago, I wanted to get a nice Kenmore canister vacuum.  Drove to Sears (30 minutes away), went to the vacuum aisle, looked around, decided on what I wanted (nobody asking if I needed help.)
Looked around for an employee so I could just get the thing and go pay for it.
Three employees over in the TVs standing around talking.  I make eye contact (it's obvious I'm just standing there waiting on help.)  Nothing.
A fourth one walks up to them.  They continue chatting.  I'm staring at them now.  They see me.  They turn their backs and continue their conversation.
I've never been back to any Sears.
 
2014-01-22 02:34:40 PM

Ishkur: Livingroom: i just cant understand how sears managed to cock this up so badly. sears was the original Amazon.com. how did they fail so spectacularly?

Two words: Eddie Lampert. He's actually doing to Sears what he did to Kmart.

Lampert is not a business manager. He is a pure investor. All he knows how to do is improve stock indexes, he doesn't know how to run companies. Both Sears and Kmart have been drowning for years, but what kept them valuable was their property -- both owned thousands of retail outlets. Perfect for a strip-and-sell investor.

This is a simplified version, but what Lampert did with Kmart was take controlling interest of the company and reorganized all of its debt into shares. By selling off its stores over time, corporate earnings remained in the black for several years despite no increase in sales or traffic. Good quarterly reports is all that matters to investors, so as a result the stock price inflated 600%. Lampert then milked the stocks for cash, which he then used to fund other investments Warren Buffett style.

In 2005, he bought Sears and basically merged the two companies. Then he instituted some weird unethical Objectivism experiment on the store's departments and employees, turning it into a dysfunctional, anarchic, selfish free for all.

This is the result.


The shareholders are happy with the results, so he'll keep his job.

Sad.
 
2014-01-22 02:59:04 PM

GreatGlavinsGhost: The shareholders are happy with the results, so he'll keep his job.

Sad.


They are?

This is SHLD compared to the broad market since Eddie bought out Sears.

img.fark.net

He may have a board stuffed with buddies that have kept him from being fired.  The activist investors may not think there's anything left worth saving and thus aren't buying out/ousting him.  But the shareholders ain't happy and they are pretty clearly voting with their feet.
 
2014-01-22 09:43:46 PM

John Buck 41: Around 2007 I needed a new fridge. Went to Sears, found one I liked, but the salesman told me "It's the last model and we don't have one in the warehouse. We can't have an open space on the floor." (which they would've if they'd sold me that one).

Walked out. Never been back.


I couldn't believe this story, so I asked my brother who manages a Sears Hometown store, if this could have happened. I own you an apology for doubting you. Wow. That's messed up.
 
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