The 5 Meanest Quotes From Report On Sad State Of Sears

Image courtesy of Mark Clifton

Last week, Sears all but admitted that it was looking to cast off the little that remains of its identity with the possible sell-off of its signature house brands Kenmore, DieHard, and Craftsman. What the heck happened to this once-great pillar of American retail? A number of industry insiders have their theories, and they aren’t pulling punches.

Bloomberg Businessweek has a story on the sad state of Sears, and reading through some of the statements from retail industry-watchers is almost as cringe-inducing as a Friar’s Club roast.

You should check out the whole Bloomberg story, but here are a few choice cuts from the acid-tongued analysts.

1. On Sears’ dwindling importance:
“They stood like a colossus on top of the American retail market—bigger than the next four companies combined… Now they’re a 98-pound weakling.” — Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners.

2. On Sears’ move away from its blue-collar customer base:
“They wanted a better customer… Frequently, when retail goes off the rails, it has to do with not liking the shopper you have.” — Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail.

3. On the often-baffling behavior of Sears Holdings CEO/Chairman/biggest investor Eddie Lampert:
“The presumption when he bought it was that he was buying it for the real estate… I don’t think anyone but Eddie Lampert thought he was going to be a successful merchant.” — WSL’s Corlett.

4 & 5. On Sears’ misguided efforts to cut costs at the expense of the shopping experience:
“The stores degraded at a pretty fast pace… It exacerbated the broader issues Sears and Kmart had with relevance right out of the gate.” — Matt McGinley, analyst at Evercore ISI.

“Leaner, meaner, but with no reason to walk through the door… They don’t have any reason for being anymore. They’re totally redundant.” — WSL’s Corlett.

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