Dave Henderson

The decline of Sears

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5 hours ago, $um Fun said:

Sears problems started long before the merger with Kmart.  When the  sold off Discover card, Allstate insurance, their mortgage division (now PNC mortgage) and Dean Witter (now part of Morgan Stanley) was the beginning of the end.  The management thought it would be great to sell the money makers and concentrate on the loosing side of business.  What not to do will be part of business school text books for years to come.

 

 I agree 100% this has been going on for many years now, I think the only reason they are still around is that they own the property most of the stores are located on. There was a huge store in Hicksville NY on Long Island that closed that is going to be the new home of a massive condo development, in an area that is overly crowded now

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so you helped them out by defrauding them

 

 

not sure where the fraud occurred, the lug nuts were stuck in the sockets and unusable and they found it fine to give me a new set.

 

wasnt my call............

 

nothing like a pissed off persons opinion! lol

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My Mother was a Sears. Unfortunately we were the branch of the family that kept our Sears catalog in the outhouse.  My Aunt married a Rohrbach so in the family we had a Sears and Rohrbach. 

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8 hours ago, JFranklin said:

I have a 1920s catalog of sears kit homes, all precut with every fastener and parts to complete. Just think you could have ordered your home online, well maybe with a stamp, 3cents. Bean counters know what they know but without much imagination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think this is the key along with a few other comments around not keeping up with the changes in how customers shop.  Sears was THE mail order company of the day.  That is what made them highly successful from the late 1800s into the 20th Century.  Eventually they moved from mail order to mostly department store sales. As the buying public started to move back to "mail order", now called online, no one at the company had the foresight (or hindsight) to go back to their roots.  They stayed with their department store sales model and you see the results.

Scott

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4 hours ago, John348 said:

 

 I agree 100% this has been going on for many years now, I think the only reason they are still around is that they own the property most of the stores are located on. There was a huge store in Hicksville NY on Long Island that closed that is going to be the new home of a massive condo development, in an area that is overly crowded now

 

Published reports indicate that Sears has been selling their real estate assets for years now when those assets were not pledged as collateral for loans, etc.

In the last two years those sales gave Sears 1.9 Billion dollars. When it comes to selling the remaining real estate Sears faces two main problems. One, the amount of real estate left to sell is not all that much anymore. Two, what is left that can be sold is not high dollar locations. FYI, Sears has been selling their Real Estate for cash and then renting/leasing back that same location if it was a store they wanted to keep operating. Bottom line is just because one sees a Sears store does not mean that Sears still owns the real estate it sits on. Since 2010, Sears has lost 10.8 Billion dollars. Reports in April indicate that the Sears CEO is pushing to sell the Kenmore Brand to the Hedge Fund that he also owns, to raise cash. After that takes place there is not much in the way of assets left Sears can sell. Coincidentally, not much left for creditors in the event of a bankruptcy or just shutting down the business. Hmmmmm.

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17 hours ago, MCHinson said:

You have no idea how many times the AACA has been threatened with civil suits or how many times that suits have actually been filed aginste the club for negative comments about companies on the discussion forum. 

 

This one has me cracking up. Next time just offer them a courtesy Forum account. What did Woody Guthrie call that?- we'll give him a case of the blind stutters.

 

Filing a suit for negative comments reminds me of a call from my Daughter a while back. She said a friend had moved because the landlord intimidated her friend. I told her to call me if anything like that happened to her. She replied "Oh God, I would pity anyone who tried to intimidate you. You'd make their life a living hell."

 

PM me a list of those companies.

 

Well, lunchtime here. I'm heading for the China Buffet and then maybe walk around the Harbor Freight next door.

Bernie

 

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1 hour ago, Mark Gregory said:

This TIME article I think describes what has happened to America . I feel for your country and Canada .

 

That article sees most everything with a "cup half empty" view.

It has little credibility.  In every decade--probably the 1510's,

the 1690's, the 1840's, the 1950's, there have been wonderful 

aspects of life as well as the opposite which would try to assert itself.

Some people undoubtedly had negative views in every era.

A single article from a failing news-magazine is not a way

to learn accurately about a country, or continent, or society.

 

We're doing fine, Mark, though there's always room for improvement,

better ethics and morality, and as a result even better achievements!

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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When I was young a long time ago my grandfather gave me some tools that came from Montgomery Wards.

I remembering him telling me that if I didn't loose them I wouldn't ever have to buy another.

About fifteen years later my ratchet went bad and I got a new one.

Then I was working on more stuff and the replacement ratchet failed about five years later.

MW replaced it with some Taiwan brand. I complained but was told the warrantee was the same.

That was a lie.

I don't have any PowerCraft tools anymore.

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3 hours ago, Restorer32 said:

My Mother was a Sears. Unfortunately we were the branch of the family that kept our Sears catalog in the outhouse.  My Aunt married a Rohrbach so in the family we had a Sears and Rohrbach. 

Here in Canada, it was known as "Pimpson-Queers".

 

Craig

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When I was almost 16 (just turned 52 last week!) my dad, Donald (RIP) took me to the local Sears in Hazleton, PA to buy me a toolbox and socket set (it may have been a 100 or 150 piece set) of a variety of tools to work on my first Corvair, a '62 Monza Coupe with a 3 speed manual that I bought in West Hazleton for $100 from a very old man who made me promise not to "hot rod" it!  Anyway, after I graduated from Penn State and started to earn my own money, I started to go to Sears on a regular basis in Paramus, NJ, to build up my collection of made in USA Craftsman tools!  Two or three years ago, I bought a set of 20 or so adapters for my rachet set.  I already had about 1/2 of them, but my tweenager wrapped it up for me for a Christmas present.  Not until after I opened it, did I realize all the adapters were made overseas and were no longer marked "Made in the USA!"  This past weekend, I go into my local Lowe's (one stoplight from my home) and there is a huge banner and at least a half dozen of the 42" and 52" roll away tool chests and Lowe's is now carrying Craftsman tools!  I've had my eye on a 52" for a few years, but my current two roll-aways with top cabinets are working fine, and as an acquaintance pointed out, are much easier to move!  I have to see where these tool chests/cabinets are made.  It seems to me if Sears wanted to streamline and become more competitive, it should have downsized to smaller brick and mortar stores and sold off everything except for the Craftsman and Kenmore lines.  About 10 years ago in Alexandria VA there was a small Sears Hardware store that seemed to have just those items!  I loved it!  It lasted a year or three, then closed.  The last thing I bought in Sears was a new bed for my son and that was 2-3 years ago.  I can't remember the last time I saw a circular for Sears in the Sunday newspaper...  The closest Sears to me is a 20 minute drive to the other side of Alexandria at the old Landmark Mall.  I'm not too sure if it is even open...   Sad...

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When I was almost 16 (just turned 52 last week!) my dad, Donald (RIP) took me to the local Sears in Hazleton, PA to buy me a toolbox and socket set (it may have been a 100 or 150 piece set) of a variety of tools to work on my first Corvair

 

Nice to hear your story, 63RedBrier!  My Dad bought my first Craftsman tool set for me at the very same Sears store in Hazleton, PA.  I got it for Christmas in 1971; to work on the Model A I had purchased earlier that year.  I still have those tools, as well as the metal toolbox.  Most are still in service.  I have had to replace a few of the 3/8" 12-point sockets in particular, because the 'teeth' were about worn off of them. 

 

Just goes to show how much Sears is a part of the American experience.   Sad to see their decline.

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My late father was one of those people a friend described as "shouldn't be allowed to own a screwdriver". Nevertheless, when he got married (in 1950) one of his brothers, who was no more mechanical than he was, told him he should buy some tools for odd jobs around the house. So...he went to Sears a bought a set of open end wrenches. I don't think he ever used them. I adopted them 40 years ago when I started playing with old cars and they are still in my tool box today.

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22 hours ago, JFranklin said:

I have a 1920s catalog of sears kit homes, all precut with every fastener and parts to complete. Just think you could have ordered your home online, well maybe with a stamp, 3cents. Bean counters know what they know but without much imagination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a fine example of a Sears House.

This magnificent house stands in our village. 

It was purchased by the man for whom the village is named in the early 1900's.

 

0149641a.jpg

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I doubt any online sites can provide what Sears & Roebuck offered in the early 1900s. Using the catalog was the equivalent of looking it up online, and all shipping was reasonable at that.

 

Maybe I'll look to see what that particular house was named in the catalog.

 

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27 minutes ago, JFranklin said:

I doubt any online sites can provide what Sears & Roebuck offered in the early 1900s. Using the catalog was the equivalent of looking it up online, and all shipping was reasonable at that.

 

Maybe I'll look to see what that particular house was named in the catalog

 

If you are referring to the house I posted I can save you a lot of time.

The builder's grandson spent many many hours at Sears in Chicago trying to track down this particular house.

He never did find, exactly, what he was seeking though he did get it recognized as a historical structure.

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On 6/5/2018 at 11:02 AM, Stude Light said:

I think this is the key along with a few other comments around not keeping up with the changes in how customers shop.  Sears was THE mail order company of the day.  That is what made them highly successful from the late 1800s into the 20th Century.  Eventually they moved from mail order to mostly department store sales. As the buying public started to move back to "mail order", now called online, no one at the company had the foresight (or hindsight) to go back to their roots.  They stayed with their department store sales model and you see the results.

Scott

 

I can't think of any company more suited to going back to its roots and leading the new "mail order" (as you say) revolution than Sears.   They literally had it all, purchasing, distribution, reputation, service, everything.  It would have meant re-thinking their brick and mortar stores but they could have done that even if it meant a 50% reduction... certainly would be better than where they are now. 

Think about this... Sears, the "Amazon" of its time, let Amazon grow from a bookseller to king of the world. 

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My last Sears experience was good. A ratchet that was part of the first good tools I bought nearly 50 years ago was acting up. I had heard the stories about them not having the kits to rebuild them anymore and replacing with Chinese replacements so I didn't bother going in. I looked online and rebuild kits were available on eBay at outrageous prices. So at the Charlotte flea market a couple of years ago I picked up a slightly newer Craftsman ratchet the same size as mine for $10, it was probably only 30 years old. Since I didn't have anything to lose, I tore apart the old ratchet to see what was wrong and it just needed cleaning. Problem was the spring clip that held it all together went flying never to be found. After looking all over for a replacement spring clip I took it all to Sears in a baggy. They said no problem they had clip and took off to the back room. About an hour later (not all good I guess) they came back and handed it to me all working fine. Their excuse for the time was they re-cleaned it because their special cleaner did a better job than my paint thinner and they want to do a good job. So now I have a spare 3/8" ratchet and my old friend back as good as new.

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Monday morning I exchanged a broken clicker-style torque wrench, more than 40 years old, at my local Sears store, utterly without question.  I was saddened to see that you could have fired a cannon through the store without hitting a soul.  I don't think the replacement will last 40 years, but neither will I.

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I am bummed to see Sears going this direction.

 

At the risk of hi-jacking this thread I'll preface this post by saying that I drove one of my vintage Corvettes to work the day this happened.  :lol:

 

I just want to share a positive "brick and mortar" story with you all.

One of the businesses I own is a restaurant/bar in Palm Springs, CA. A while back (along with every other restaurant/bar in town) we were having much difficulty with one of our beer distributors. For several months many owners in town, including me, were complaining to each other, much teeth gnashing, etc. In the middle of all this trouble I realized that my Budweiser distributor gave me no problems at all and my rep was a hard working girl, always quick with a smile.

Well, I decided to take a quick moment to write a simple "Thank you" note to the big Bud brewery in St. Louis naming my rep, her manager, the delivery driver, etc. to say I was just happy with their great service.

End of story.

 

....or so I thought.

 

A month later (I drove a different collector car to work) I get a phone call from my rep's manager who asks me "Did you write a letter to St. Louis?"  I told him I had and asked how he knew that. He said he'd just received a call from corporate in St. Louis wanting to know "exactly who was this small biz out in the California desert"?  He went on to tell me one of the Vice Presidents  and his entourage were flying out here in two weeks to visit us! Well, long story even longer, they did, we made the local news. Huge posse of Bud men in suits showed up, rolled out the red carpet for us. Declared our place a true "Bud bar" and said anything these people need, give it to them! Tickets, trips, product, etc.

I can tell you I was a little more than flabbergasted. I explained that we appreciated their generous offer but we just didn't need anything, really. We were simply satisfied customers. Of course they ran up a huge tab and tipped generously. A truly great day.

 

Several months later the Clydesdales show up out front of our place to make a delivery. Made the news again. Then a few months later I asked my rep if she could organize a trip to the brewery over here in Van Nuys for about 10 of my regulars. She calls her boss, he misunderstands and says "Book the flights and hotels" He was prepared to send us all to St. Louis! :lol: We corrected this and were happy to have a nice day trip to L.A.

This year we  were one of 5 spots in America to receive a Golden Horseshoe Award.

Great people from a great business. Sometimes a little "thank you" goes a long way.

 

Then I drove my 45 year old truck home.

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Well, as far as the Sears house photo above goes, this is as close as I could find. They allowed customization so maybe this was the deluxe design in the catalog. 

Scan.jpeg

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That's a great find but the layout is not even close to the house here.

I never counted the number of rooms but there are two staircases.

A Grand Staircase which lands in the dining room and a very narrow staircase at the rear of the house.

It has to have at least 6 bedrooms plus a huge attic that was also put into living service.

The family who recently bought the house has 6 kids so.......

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16 hours ago, GregLaR said:

Well, I decided to take a quick moment to write a simple "Thank you" note to the big Bud brewery in St. Louis naming my rep, her manager, the delivery driver, etc. to say I was just happy with their great service.

*

*

Greg, what a great gesture! I try to leave everyone with a smile, and like you I thank people for the good work that they do.  We all have a bad day every once in a while. A pat on the back goes a long ways! Great job! 

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My Mother was a Sears.

 

My mudder was a mudder, my fatter was a mudder..........................

 

lol! sorry Restorer, couldnt resist!

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