Good morning, Netizens…
With the news that Sears and K-Mart have already publicly announced that they may be closing as many as 120 stores nationwide, largely due to tough economic times, one can see the impact of Christmas 2011 shopping season. This pair of huge retailers which are owned by the hedge fund manager Edward Lampert, has seen sales decline every year since the $11 billion merger of the two chains in 2005. They face further closings to cut expenses, preserve cash and push back against rivals such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Amazon.com Inc, analysts said.
If you go to http://www.searsmedia.com one can read the list of stores slated to close in the future, although the list is already outdated and the actual locations of the stores yet to be closed remain uncertain.
K-Mart, founded in 1962, has faced severe competition from WalMart which repopularized its layaway program this year to make it easier for low income shoppers to make purchases by paying in installments. Kmart has found itself squeezed between Wal-Mart's low prices and Target's trendier offerings, while Sears has faced more intense competition for electronics and lower prices, and less demand for household appliances. Sears blamed electronics for more than half the decline in holiday sales.
Wall Street analysts have long faulted Sears for letting its stores become stale, even as rivals ranging from Macy's Inc., J.C. Penney Co, Inc, Target Corp. and Wal-Mart remodeled and spruced up their stores during the pre-Christmas rush in 2011.
It would seem apparent that if you didn't like your vision of retail big-box stores during the latest round of Christmas, the demise of Sears and K-Mart probably are not going to improve your outlook. You will have less variety, fewer choices from which to make your purchases. Not that you will recognize any true savings.
It remains to be seen whether Sears or K-Mart will rebound in the new year, which is too bad, really. I always was fond of the original Sears and Roebucks catalogs, and still remember being able to purchase nearly anything I needed, from tools to shoes, at reasonable prices via the parcel post. At the rate we're going, we may not even have parcel post in the near-future.