360° Coverage : Does Sears Matter? Its Biggest Critic Says Yes

2 Updates
Does Sears Matter? Its Biggest Critic Says Yes

Does Sears Matter? Its Biggest Critic Says Yes

Jan 10 2014, 1:45pm CST | by

Anyone following retail analyst Brian Sozzi’s Twitter feed knows he’s gunning for Sears. He visits stores and takes pictures of interiors, often messy or poorly merchandised. Then he tweets. And...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

33 weeks ago

Does Sears Matter? Its Biggest Critic Says Yes

Jan 10 2014, 1:45pm CST | by

Anyone following retail analyst Brian Sozzi’s Twitter feed knows he’s gunning for Sears. He visits stores and takes pictures of interiors, often messy or poorly merchandised. Then he tweets.

And tweets, and tweets.

On Saturday, Sears Vice President of Corporate Communication, Chris Brathwaite tweeted back. What followed were accusations that Sozzi, of Belus Capital Advisors had an agenda. That he consulted for a competitor or was simply mugging for attention.

Not so, says Sozzi. “We are an independent research firm. My only motive is to bring about positive change.”

He grew up shopping at Sears and says his passion for retail stems from his childhood, growing up with a mother who frequented dollar stores and discounters. Sears is a piece of his past that he is loathe to see wind up in the dustbin of history.

“I always keep in mind where I grew up shopping as a kid,” he says. “We went to Kmart and Sears, and to dollar stores. We were on a tight budget.”

He believes these same shoppers today deserve clean, well-stocked stores like the ones he grew up shopping. “They deserve better than what Sears and Kmart are giving them.” He’s hoping to prompt executives to walk the stores and make changes.

Sozzi has challenged Sears executives to walk stores with him, stores of their choice. “This isn’t a company doing what Sam Walton did, what Mike Duke (Walmart’s CEO) does. They walk the stores.”

In truth, there’s little indication that Sears CEO Eddie Lampert spends much time or money on Sears stores. Brathwaite points to some stores changes as evidenced in Sears’ annual report, moving of cash wraps and some new merchandising, but these are minor efforts with a slight impact.

Sears instead is investing in its online marketplace and the Shop Your Way rewards program, an initiative Sears says engages its best customers.

“We are transitioning from a business that has historically focused on running a store network into a business that provides and delivers value by serving its members in the manner most convenient for them: whether in store, at home or through digital devices,” says Lampert, in a statement issued alongside a financial update. An update that shows continued declines.

For the full year ending February 1, 2014, Sears expects a net loss between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion.

Investing in online and membership is appropriate and necessary, but stores need attention too. Those best customers are going into stores, albeit in ever decreasing numbers.

Sears hasn’t opened a store in, well, Braithwaite didn’t know the last time Sears opened a new location (I asked). He takes issue with the idea that all Sears and Kmart stores are unsightly and neglected.
It’s a fair point, with roughly 2,000 locations, not all will be pristine./>

But there are enough of them to give meaning to why those financials are falling quarter after quarter, year over year.

For every unsightly store, there are many more that aren’t, says Brathwaite. And while that may be true, shoppers go to their local store and if it’s a bad experience, they don’t travel to another. They just don’t go back.

Clearly a lot of shoppers aren’t going back. Same-store sales have been declining for years.

Now Sozzi says Sears is in a death spiral.  That it won’t exist in two years, that Sears will be gone by 2017.

Dem’s fightin words. And the fight is going on via national media outlets — Sozzi makes frequent TV appearances — and on social media.

Does Sears matter? Absolutely. There are 2,000 Sears and Kmart locations — physical stores. There are roughly 25,000 employees and scores more retirees that contributed to pensions in good faith.

And people like myself, like Sozzi claims to be, that genuinely feel a connection to Sears and Kmart stores. People who would shop those stores if they stocked more compelling merchandise or were in better physical shape.

I too, grew up with Sears. In its hometown of Chicago. Like Sozzi, we were on a budget and as a single mother in the 1960s, she was unable to get a credit card in her own name. Only Sears would issue her one, an act that won her business and our family loyalty.

I still look up in awe at what was once the world’s tallest building that bore the Sears name. I shopped for back to school clothes at a store now so dark and depressing, I can’t bear to go in, even though it’s blocks from my home.

A home that sits on a street that shares a name with an iconic Sears brand, although which came first is unclear.

I’m a retail geek of the highest order. I hope Sozzi’s wrong.

Sears does matter.

Follow me on Twitter @lfheller and be a part of the conversation.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

2 days ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the workforce of 20,000 by 30 per ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

3 days ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tra ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Pakistan protesters break into PTV office
Islamabad, Sep 1 (IANS) Protesters Monday took over the Pakistan Television (PTV) network office here, as a result of which transmission has disrupted in Islamabad.
 
 
Green offices make workers happy - and productive
London, Sep 1 (IANS) Want to be happy and productive at work? Keep a plant next to your computer.
 
 
Special team in PMO will fast-track Japanese investment: Modi (Roundup)
Tokyo, Sep 1 (IANS) Assuring the same quick reaction and proactive response a Japanese investor accorded when he was chief minister of Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday announced a special team in his office to fast-track investments from Japan.
 
 
NASA's Mars rover set for memory reformat
New York, Sep 1 (IANS) NASA's Mars exploration rover Opportunity is set for a flash memory reformatting after experiencing an increasing number of computer resets.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Pakistan protesters break into PTV office
Islamabad, Sep 1 (IANS) Protesters Monday took over the Pakistan Television (PTV) network office here, as a result of which transmission has disrupted in Islamabad. The protesters, who seemed to have faced no security...
Read more on Ad Balla
 
Jennifer Lawrence's nude photos leaked online
Los Angeles, Sep 1 (IANS) Actress Jennifer Lawrence's nude photographs are being circulated on the internet space after her phone was reportedly hacked. "This is a flagrant violation of privacy," a spokesperson for...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Chanderpaul, Jeffers amongst runs in warm-up against Bangladesh
Basseterre (St. Kitts), Sep 1 (IANS/CMC) Shivnarine Chanderpaul warmed up for next week's first Test with a fluent, unbeaten half-century but Shane Jeffers took centrestage with a stunning century, on the second day of...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Peng Shuai reaches US Open quarters for first time
New York, Sep 1 (IANS) World No.39 Peng Shuai of China defeated Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4 to reach the US Open quarter-finals, marking her first women's singles final eight appearance in a Grand...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Green offices make workers happy - and productive
London, Sep 1 (IANS) Want to be happy and productive at work? Keep a plant next to your computer. "Green" offices with plants make staff happier and more productive than "lean" designs stripped of greenery, new...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Special team in PMO will fast-track Japanese investment: Modi (Roundup)
Tokyo, Sep 1 (IANS) Assuring the same quick reaction and proactive response a Japanese investor accorded when he was chief minister of Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday announced a special team in his office...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Thompson, Stewart sweep 100 metres at Berlin meet
Berlin, Sep 1 (IANS/CMC) Trinidadian Richard Thompson won the men's 100 metres at the ISTAF athletics meet here as the Caribbean swept both sprints. Thompson, a double silver medallist at the Beijing Olympics six...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Roger Moore loves being known as James Bond
Sir Roger Moore says there is ''no downside'' to being known as James Bond. The 86-year-old actor played the fictional British spy seven times between 1973 and 1985 in movies like 'The Man With the Golden Gun' and 'For...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Charlie Hunnam for Escape From New York remake?
Charlie Hunnam could be set to star in an 'Escape From New York' remake. The 'Sons of Anarchy' actor - who dropped out of the upcoming 'Fifty Shades of Grey' film due to scheduling issues - is rumoured to be in talks...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Kelly Brook suffered second miscarriage
Kelly Brook suffered a second miscarriage while dating Thom Evans. The 34-year-old actress and the former rugby star lost their first child on May 6 2011 when Kelly gave birth at just six months pregnant and she's now...
Read more on Celebrity Balla