Two of the largest retailers in America are steamrolling toward bankruptcy. Sears and J.C. Penney are both losing hundreds of millions of dollars each quarter, and both of them appear to be caught in the grip of a death spiral from which it will be impossible to escape. Once upon a time, Sears was actually the largest retailer in the United States, and even today Sears and J.C. Penney are “anchor stores” in malls all over the country. When I was growing up, my mother would take me to the mall when it was time to go clothes shopping, and there were usually just two options: Sears or J.C. Penney. When I got older, I actually worked for Sears for a little while. At the time, nobody would have ever imagined that Sears or J.C. Penney could go out of business someday. But that is precisely what is happening. They are both shutting down unprofitable stores and laying off employees in a desperate attempt to avoid bankruptcy, but everyone knows that they are just delaying the inevitable. These two great retail giants are dying, and they certainly won’t be the last to fall. This is just the beginning.
The Death Of Sears
Sales have declined at Sears for 27 quarters in a row, and the legendary retailer has been closing hundreds of stores and selling off property in a frantic attempt to turn things around.
Unfortunately for Sears, it is not working. In fact, Sears has announced that it expects to lose “between $250 million to $360 million” for the quarter that will end on February 1st.
Things have gotten so bad that Sears is even making commercials that openly acknowledge how badly it is struggling. For example, consider the following bit of dialogue from a recent Sears television commercial featuring two young women…
“Wait, the movie theater is on the other side,” the passenger says.
“But Sears always has parking!” the driver responds.
Sears always has parking???
Of course the unspoken admission is that Sears always has parking because nobody shops there anymore.
I have posted video of the commercial below…
A couple of months ago I walked into a Sears store in the middle of the week and it was like a ghost town. A few associates were milling around here and there having private discussions among themselves, but other than that it was eerily quiet.
You can find 18 incredibly depressing photographs which do a great job of illustrating why Sears is steadily dying right here. This was once one of America’s greatest companies, but soon it will be dead.