Sears Bankruptcy Defines The Changing Face Of Retail
Overnight Sears announced it’s filing for bankruptcy and closing 142 stores by years end. The chain will continue to exist with its other 700 stores staying open, but Eddie Lampert will step down as CEO and give up control of the company to creditors.
These days I know it’s hard to imagine how dominant of a force Sears used to be. The 125 year old company used to be the largest retailer in the world, and a century ago they had a market share equivalent to Walmart and Amazon combined. Over the summer I posted an article comparing Sears’ catalog business from decades ago to Amazon today, which proved just how similar the two business models have been.
So where does Sears go from here? First, they need to reintroduce themselves to consumers – there’s a whole generation of customers who have probably never stepped into a Sears. Then they need to find that right mix of omnichannel retailing (similar to what Walmart, Home Depot and Target have done) to compete in today’s digital age. Given where they are right now, that feels like a tall order indeed.