If you’ve been following news on the once popular store Sears, then you’ve likely come to the realization that the retailer is in a dire state. Despite an effort to rebrand which included a new pop-up shop concept to entice younger shoppers, Sears still seems to be falling short and will be closing 48 more stores.
Following a slew of liquidation sales, including locations in the GTA, Sears Holdings seems to be facing the same lack of interest in its American locations, also including the company’s Kmart stores. CNBC reported that liquidation sales across 33 Sears and 13 Kmart locations across the US were expected to begin late August, undoubtedly solidifying the fact that the department store is following the same trend across the border, as it is here in Canada.
The company said in a statement, “We continue to evaluate our network of stores, which is a critical component to our integrated retail transformation, and will make further adjustments as needed.” Whether or not they were referring to trimming the company’s real estate as part of the plan is unclear, but it doesn’t take an expert to come to the conclusion that Sears is still in trouble.
Apparently, the dwindling sales aren’t only due to a lack of interest from shoppers, but also a decline in in-store shopping since customers are increasingly opting to shop online. While the retailer is still testing out new concepts, like stand-alone mattress stores and combined Kmart and Sears locations, the retailer had already issued a statement as early as last January that roughly 100 locations would be closed.
Along with shares that have plunged by 85% over the past 12 months, it also seems to be selling off some of its house brands. They have already sold their Craftsman brand and now it seems like the Kenmore appliance brand will be next to go, as CNBC also reported Sears was evaluating a bid of $400 million from Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments.
Whether or not Sears can miraculously bounce back from all these closures is uncertain, but one thing is for sure: its not looking good and the end seems inevitable. The last provided total of 894 operating stores was given this past January, but no updated figure has been available since. While you may be thinking 894 stores is a lot, Investopedia states that the retailer used to have 3,500 stores when Sears and Kmart first merged in 2005. That’s 2,606 store closures!