Is Sears Still In Business? The fate of the once-mighty retail giant, Sears, hangs in the balance as 2022 unfolds. This iconic company faced many ups and downs, marked by a merger in 2005. Later, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2018. It is noted that only a handful of Sears stores remain. It indicates that the retail giant has been struggling, due to which it has reduced its size. Is Sears still In business? To get the answer and more in-depth information, keep reading our blog!
Sears Holdings Company came into existence 16 years ago. At that time, Sears, Roebuck & Co. merged with Kmart Holding Corporation. The merger was intended to breathe new life into the business. It ended up being far from the panacea executives had hoped for. 2018, the company took a significant blow, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The merger itself, where Sears and Kmart combined in 2005. It didn’t provide the anticipated relief. Before the merger, Kmart Holdings Corp. was traded on the Nasdaq Exchange as “KMRT.” While Sears, Roebuck & Co. had its place on the NYSE as “S.”
The union birthed the new entity, Sears Holding Corporation, trading on the Nasdaq as “SHLD.” At that time, it was poised to become the third-largest U.S. retailer. It boasted around $55 billion in annual revenues. However, the luster faded over time, and in 2018, Sears filed for bankruptcy.
The bankruptcy proceedings included the closure of roughly 142 remaining store locations. Especially those situated in malls have lost their appeal to shoppers. In hindsight, many CEOs from rival retailers had foreseen the merger’s shortcomings. Former Sears Canada CEO Mark Cohen even remarked that the company was “toast about a day after it closed.” The absence of a “sustainable competitive advantage” was a glaring issue, according to “R” Us CEO. Dana Telsey, CEO of Telsey Advisory Group, noted that the bankruptcy had been “a long time coming.”
In 2021, Sears still grappled with an $80 million debt to administrative creditors. It coupled with mounting legal bills for the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings. It neared the $250,000 mark. Sears’ story is a cautionary tale of a retail giant’s dramatic rise and fall in commerce. Despite these challenges, the company Sears is still in business.
List Of Sears Stores Still Open
As of August 2023, there are 12 Sears stores in the United States, a far cry from the retail giant’s heyday. These remaining Sears locations are spread across eight different states and territories. It serves in 12 distinct cities.
California has the highest concentration of Sears stores in the U.S. It boasts 3 stores, accounting for approximately 25% of all Sears stores in the country. The Golden State has one Sears store for every 13,170,667 residents. It indicates its prominence among the remaining locations.
Florida shares a similar status, also hosting 3 Sears stores. It is equivalent to about a quarter of the remaining stores. In the Sunshine State, there is one Sears store for approximately every 7,159,333 individuals.
New Jersey has a single Sears store, about 8% of the remaining locations. In the Garden State, the ratio is one Sears store for every 8,882,000 residents.
How Did Sears Change America?
Sears was not just America’s largest employer or retailer in its prime. It was a force that reshaped the nation, altering the average citizen’s lifestyle long before the advent of online shopping. The Sears catalog introduced a wide range of products into American homes.
At a time when most Americans lived in rural areas and small towns. Sears played a pivotal role, particularly for those in rural communities. Americans moved to the suburbs after World War II. Sears stores became anchors for the malls that propelled suburban expansion.
Sears was a pioneer in democratizing retail across America. It offers consumer credit to a wide audience by granting access to labor-saving appliances and electronics like washing machines. At one point, Sears claimed that 50% of American homes featured a Kenmore appliance.
The store also dabbled in unconventional ventures, reflecting the evolving American economy. Sears initiated Allstate Insurance in 1931. It acquired the Dean Witter brokerage firm and Coldwell Banker real estate in 1981. Also, joined forces with IBM to create Prodigy, one of the earliest internet services, in 1984. Not only this, but also introduced the Discover credit card in 1985.
Sears even ventured into the housing market. Offering Sears Craftsman houses with floor plans and the essential construction materials. Precut lumber and other items were shipped to buyers, leading to the sale of 75,000 homes between 1908 and 1940.
By the 1990s, Sears had a massive presence, with one in seven Americans. Americans either work for the company or have a history with it. These were stable jobs, often accompanied by healthcare, benefits, and pension plans.
Despite Sears’s many innovative strides, its downfall wasn’t due to a single factor. The rise of discount retailers- Walmart and big-box stores (Home Depot) posed challenges. The emergence of online shopping further impacted its business. Internal missteps and an inability to replicate the success of its appliances and tools with other merchandise played a part.
As tastes and markets evolved. Once a retail giant, Sears struggled to maintain its former glory. Shoppers today often think, “I can do better.”
Sears Stores Closing 2023
In 2023, Sears found itself closing the doors of five more of its stores. It marked a different chapter for this struggling retailer. It happened a year after it emerged from bankruptcy due to its declaration in 2018. The retailer had already witnessed the closure of more than 100 locations.
The list of stores facing closure included:
- 3400 S. College Ave., Fort Collins, Colorado
- 6327 W. 119th St., Overland Park, Kansas
- 4405 Ambassador Caffery, Lafayette, Louisiana
- 3200 W Friendly Ave., Greensboro, North Carolina
- 3740 Capital City Mall Drive, Camp Hill (Lower Allen Township), Pennsylvania
- 500 N. Jackson Rd B-1, Pharr, Texas
This round of closures would leave just eleven Sears stores in operation across the U.S. It has remained in California, Florida, Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington.
Sears was not the sole retailer grappling with store closures. But Bed Bath & Beyond had also filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. It led to 360 Bed Bath & Beyond and 120 Buy Buy Baby stores shut down. Likewise, Christmas Tree Shops revealed plans to close ten locations nationwide. It closed its locations after its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on May 5. These developments underscore the challenging landscape many retailers faced in recent years.
Sears Has Been Declining Continuously
Edward Lampert, the chairman of Kmart, orchestrated the merger between Kmart and Sears. It was a significant move in the retail landscape. In 2019, he took another pivotal step by acquiring the remaining Sears and Kmart stores under a new entity, Transformco. However, Sears was once a multifaceted retail mammoth. It had already begun to spin off many of its profitable segments.
The number of Sears and Kmart stores has steadily declined, post-merger and after the bankruptcy filing.
There are several factors contributing to Sears’ troubles, including:
- Intense competition from big-box retailers and e-commerce giants like Walmart and Amazon
- The declining allure of shopping malls
Legal battles added to the turmoil, along with plaintiffs in lawsuits filed by Sears Holdings and former unsecured creditors. They alleged that his involvement exacerbated the retailer’s decline. Also asserted that he oversaw the transfer of billions of dollars in cash and assets to himself, other shareholders, and third parties.
As of June 2022, a mere handful of Sears and Kmart stores remain open in the United States. Sears announced via Facebook that it would be closing its stores. At that time, around 100 of its Sears Hometown locations were closed in 2023. These closures are distributed across roughly 30 states. It marked yet another chapter in the evolving saga of this once-retail giant.
Why Did Sears Fail?
Sears has experienced a stark decline, leaving just 28 full-line stores in its wake. The company’s fall from grace was marked by its bankruptcy filing 2018. A vivid illustration of how a failure to adapt to shifting consumer behaviors can lead to a corporate downfall.
Numerous factors contributed to Sears’ demise. It begins with its reliance on mall anchor locations during the heydays of the 1970s and 1980s as malls lost favor to online and big-box retailers. Despite experiments with more profitable smaller formats, Sears struggled to pivot away from its mall-based store model.
In 1993, Sears made a fateful decision to cancel its iconic catalog. It had once provided invaluable customer data and insights. This move, though understandable, is due to the catalog’s declining profitability. It resulted in Sears forfeiting its competitive edge in understanding consumer trends.
Sears’ value proposition blurred when it merged with Kmart in 2004. This consolidation diluted Sears’ unique balance between quality and price. It is thrusting the company into direct competition with budget chains like Walmart. While also facing threats from upscale specialty stores like the GAP.
The in-store experience at Sears deteriorated. Declining sales forced the company to adopt cost-cutting measures. Neglected stores gave way to a negative feedback loop. Turning away even loyal customers and undermining the brand’s image.
Inventory management woes plagued Sears in its final days. Brands hesitated to work with the struggling retailer. Or the poorly stocked shelves became a common sight. This is coupled with concerns about Sears’ ability to pay its bills. It ultimately contributed to the company’s downfall.
In the end, Sears indicates that in the ever-evolving retail landscape. Innovation, adaptability, and a clear value proposition are crucial for a company’s survival.
Who Bought Sears?
Sears was once an iconic American department store chain with roots dating back to 1892. It has experienced a rollercoaster journey in the business world. Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck established Sears. It initially thrived as a mail-order catalog company. Later, it expanded to brick-and-mortar retail locations in 1925, starting in Chicago.
In 2005, Sears faced a significant transformation. It was acquired by the management of Kmart, forming Sears Holdings. During the 1980s, Sears proudly held the title of the largest retailer in the United States. But by 2018, it had slipped to 31st as sales dwindled.
Unfortunately, Sears couldn’t escape the challenges of the changing retail landscape. In 2018, its parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It marked a critical turning point. However, Sears emerged from bankruptcy proceedings and continued to operate. It was, albeit with a reduced footprint.
Over the years, Sears shifted headquarters. It shifted from the Sears Tower in Chicago to Hoffman Estates, Illinois. In 2023, it was announced that the Hoffman Estates headquarters would be sold. It marked another chapter in the company’s evolution.
In a recent development, Sears entities filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It led to the liquidation of 115 owner-operated Hometown stores by December 26, 2022. As of June 21, 2023, only 11 Sears stores remain, with 10 in the mainland U.S. and one location in Puerto Rico. The journey of Sears set an example in the ever-evolving retail landscape. Or the challenges that businesses may face in adapting to changing times.
Did Sears Come Back?
Sears has left many believing it’s a relic of the past. A victim of bankruptcy, with closed stores and liquidated inventory. However, the truth is a bit different. Sears has made a modest comeback. It has clung to life via e-commerce. Moreover, there are a few remaining stores despite its rollercoaster history.
Sears grew to become America’s largest retailer by the late 20th century. Even adorning the tallest skyscraper in Chicago. But the beginning of the end was marked by the 2004 merger with Kmart. It was driven by the idea that merging similar companies could cut costs. However, this partnership needed help with debt and mounting losses. It began in 2010, with revenue plunging year after year.
Many fingers point to Chairman Eddie Lampert as the architect of Sears’ demise. His cost-saving strategies hindered store upgrades, and a revolving door of CEOs exacerbated the issues. Of course, the rise of Amazon and the dominance of Walmart in the physical retail space also played their parts.
Today, Sears limps on, with a website and a mere 11 open stores. The question that lingers is, “Why bother?” A straightforward answer seems elusive. But the Sears saga remains a testament to the ever-evolving landscape of American retail.
In the quest to answer the question, “Is Sears Still in Business?” We discover the tale of a retail giant that has endured challenging times and confronted the winds of change. Today, Sears is a shadow of its former self, with only a few remaining stores. The journey of Sears offers valuable lessons about the ever-evolving business landscape.
Sears played a pivotal role in shaping American consumer culture. It offers everything from the iconic catalog that brought products into homes. It stood as a cornerstone in communities, both urban and rural. Sears anchors malls and becomes an employer of choice.
However, challenges accumulated over time, from an inability to adapt to new retail models and shifting consumer behaviors to management decisions that couldn’t match the past glories of its appliances and tools. The rise of discounters, big-box stores, and the advent of online shopping posed formidable competition.
Sears’ journey is a testament to the need for businesses to innovate and evolve. It maintains a clear value proposition in the face of ever-changing markets. While its future remains uncertain. The legacy of Sears lives on. It reminds us that even the mightiest can falter if they fail to embrace change and remain relevant in the hearts and minds of consumers.
Sears’s story is a powerful reminder that the retail landscape is an ever-shifting terrain where those who do not adapt are at risk of becoming relics of the past.