Last year, I formulated a theory that the continued existence of Sears is a massive anti-capitalist prank. The stories that readers send us indicate that the chain isn’t very good at key parts of retailing: attracting customers, selling merchandise to them, and not actively driving the customers you already have away. It’s not just Consumerist readers avoiding Sears these days: the power couple of Sears and Kmart lost $421 million in the quarter that ended on October 29.
This week, the Wall Street Journal looked at the physical condition of the chain’s stores, finding a chain that has spent a fraction of the amount its competitors spend on maintenance and improvements. An outdated, poorly-maintained store doesn’t entice anyone to buy, and Sears is demonstrating that very well. Online sales increased slightly last quarter, but even sales at normally successful Sears Canada stores are down.
Canada sales press down on Sears Holdings, weaken 3rd-quarter performance [Chicago Tribune]
Sears Suffers as It Skimps on Stores [Wall Street Journal](via Consumer Reports)