Sears’ Empty Sales Floors May Be Turning Customers Off

It should be pretty easy to tell a fully operational department store from one that it is closing down, but some Sears shoppers have found that their local store is not doing much to alleviate concerns about the company’s death spiral.

A couple months back, Consumerist’s own Kate Cox stopped in a Sears store in northern Virginia and noticed something strange. Huge parts of the store were empty, and it was strangely arranged, with jumbled clearance sections in front of newly renovated areas. It was unnerving enough that she took a few pictures to share with us. Employees said that the store wasn’t closing, and they were half right.

That’s because Kate had visited while the store was shifting things around with the ultimate goal of consolidating the two-story store into one story. If the right opportunity with a new tenant comes along, the store will close. If you want to lease the whole thing, it’s available.

Here are the pictures that Kate snapped while the store was in this condition:

A different Sears shopper paid a visit to this same store in October and recorded the vast emptiness for posterity on YouTube:

In the clip, he wonders is the store has been “abandoned.” Well, no, but you can’t blame him.

Here’s the result now that everything has shifted around, courtesy of Flickr user Aaron F. Stone: The second floor is empty and not yet occupied.

Last year, Seritage Growth Properties, the real estate investment trust that consists of current and former Sears Holdings stores, announced plans to renovate the Sears, rearranging it to include “Dave and Busters, junior box retailers, and restaurants on the second floor, while Sears Holdings [would] retain the space on the first floor.”

We’d like to see your local retailers, old and new, and stores that look abandoned but aren’t. Does a closing store near you have a liquidation sale that’s serious Raiders of the Lost Walmart material? Does your town have a creative UTBAPH where your favorite childhood Pizza Hut once was? Send photos to tips@consumerist.com and we’ll check them out.

[Note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly attributed some of the above photos to an anonymous reader. The story has been updated to reflect that these were actually taken by a Consumerist staffer.]