Why It Sucks To Be Sears Right Now

Five years after their merger, how are Sears and Kmart faring? Not so well. The company faces deteriorating stores in near-abandoned malls, fierce competition in nearly every category, locations that were prime retail space in about 1974, and snarky consumer bloggers that mock the company at every turn. Oh.

The 2005 merger was supposed to bring together the best parts of two venerable but faltering American brands. Five years later, the recession has affected business at both Sears and Kmart badly enough that executives are starting to notice that something is wrong.

What keeps customers away? Lower prices elsewhere, poor service, and the intangible feeling of dankness and despair in most Kmart and Sears stores. That last problem is the most expensive to fix, so they’re going to back-burner it for now. David Friedman, senior vice president and president of marketing, told the New York Times in an interview:

“The in-store experience is one of those that matters a lot, and we believe that the physical plant is one piece of it, but we believe the associates and the products drive the in-store experience.”

Good luck with that. What would Sears have to change or offer in order to earn your money and/or loyalty?

A Tough Sell at Sears [New York Times] (Thanks, Howard!)

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