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OFF-TOPIC Sears & Macys closing stores....

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So I stopped by a shopping mall on Monday, Jan 2nd. Something I NEVER do as I think that malls are for consumers and not for producers, but my interest was piqued due to the fact of so many cars in the parking lot.

I ambled through a half dozen stores and noticed a few that seemed to command most of the business, mainly because of 50% off sales throughout.

One or two were packed, and then I wandered into Sears, and I literally thought I had meandered into a cemetery. Customers were non existent, and as I roamed around all I could think of was the amount of cash they were burning through from the overhead just to keep the lights and heat on, let alone labor, inventory etc.

It had been a long time since I had gone through a Sears store. I remember as a kid, that's where everyone went to buy their appliances (Kenmore), batteries (Diehard) or their tools (Craftsman). It was THE PLACE, a destination all of its own. I remember back then marveling at all the products they carried; and on my recent visit marveling at the lack of customers. Today they announced the sale of Craftsman Tools to Black & Decker for 900 million, buying them a bit more time before their most likely demise.
They have closed 2000 stores in the past decade.

2000

Macys has just announced closing 68 stores and laying off 10,000.

Times are a changing' and even though I am all for online sales having multiple ecommerce websites myself, I am concerned about our loss of some of these iconic B&M stores, and the jobs they had created. It is not just the store employees but ancillary support workers for these companies.

Online marketplaces are great for certain types of shopping but there is nothing like a "touchy-feely" of handling merchandise prior to buying, be it clothes, appliances or shoes....
I just hope we don't lose something we may never again retrieve, i.e. our steel manufacturing, auto parts, electronics, clothing, etc.

Since 2001 we have lost 42,400 factories in this country, with another 90,000 on the verge of bankruptcy
The Plight of American Manufacturing

There are still tremendous possibilities for creating products right here in our back yard. I know because I have done it. But it isn't just about the creation of products that excites me, but the creation of jobs also...
Sometimes we are too close to the forest to see the trees...

There is a bigger picture out there
I have found that I get almost as much satisfaction creating a job for someone as I do creating another business. Because I know it is creating more wealth in the long run.

Plus I like the CONTROL of planting my garden in my own back yard.

There is nothing like looking out my back window and watching it grow...


Sears Buys Time With Craftsman Brand Sale, Store Closures
 

Arun Siva

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Macys Sears and JC Penney have not fully evolved to the thresholds of ecommerce; They have a ton of overhead and albeit maybe 30-40% of their old customer base still shop (think elderly people and people that want to try on the clothes first before buying online or people that dont buy online clothes period)

I just heard that Sears has sold their craftsman tool brand to Stanley for $900 million too;

just evolution I suppose.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDaOgu2CQtI
 
G

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No clue what Eddie Lampert is doing with SHLD. Seems like a smart guy but it looks like he's ready to average down to zero for...retail? Legacy is a helluva drug.

I remember those phone book-sized catalogs as a kid and thinking they must be the biggest company in the world. Great brand but it's over.
 

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So I stopped by a shopping mall on Monday, Jan 2nd. Something I NEVER do as I think that malls are for consumers and not for producers, but my interest was piqued due to the fact of so many cars in the parking lot.

I ambled through a half dozen stores and noticed a few that seemed to command most of the business, mainly because of 50% off sales throughout.

One or two were packed, and then I wandered into Sears, and I literally thought I had meandered into a cemetery. Customers were non existent, and as I roamed around all I could think of was the amount of cash they were burning through from the overhead just to keep the lights and heat on, let alone labor, inventory etc.

It had been a long time since I had gone through a Sears store. I remember as a kid, that's where everyone went to buy their appliances (Kenmore), batteries (Diehard) or their tools (Craftsman). It was THE PLACE, a destination all of its own. I remember back then marveling at all the products they carried; and on my recent visit marveling at the lack of customers. Today they announced the sale of Craftsman Tools to Black & Decker for 900 million, buying them a bit more time before their most likely demise.
They have closed 2000 stores in the past decade.

2000

Macys has just announced closing 68 stores and laying off 10,000.

Times are a changing' and even though I am all for online sales having multiple ecommerce websites myself, I am concerned about our loss of some of these iconic B&M stores, and the jobs they had created. It is not just the store employees but ancillary support workers for these companies.

Online marketplaces are great for certain types of shopping but there is nothing like a "touchy-feely" of handling merchandise prior to buying, be it clothes, appliances or shoes....
I just hope we don't lose something we may never again retrieve, i.e. our steel manufacturing, auto parts, electronics, clothing, etc.

Since 2001 we have lost 42,400 factories in this country, with another 90,000 on the verge of bankruptcy
The Plight of American Manufacturing

There are still tremendous possibilities for creating products right here in our back yard. I know because I have done it. But it isn't just about the creation of products that excites me, but the creation of jobs also...
Sometimes we are too close to the forest to see the trees...

There is a bigger picture out there
I have found that I get almost as much satisfaction creating a job for someone as I do creating another business. Because I know it is creating more wealth in the long run.

Plus I like the CONTROL of planting my garden in my own back yard.

There is nothing like looking out my back window and watching it grow...


Sears Buys Time With Craftsman Brand Sale, Store Closures
I'm just surprised this hasn't happened sooner. They both operate with tons of overhead. They have to make a ton of margin on any items that they sell, when faced with competition such as ecommerce on the internet it just isn't sustainable for them to operate huge stores with large amounts of employee salaries, with an enormous cost for lighting, testing product product, returns and everything else. Credit them for keeping these going as long as they have. Maybe a sign of consumers being inefficient (stupid)?
 

Kingmaker

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I have found that I get almost as much satisfaction creating a job for someone as I do creating another business. Because I know it is creating more wealth in the long run.
Awesome. Job creators who out of an idea in their head and a lot work create opportunities for other people to feed themselves and their families deserve all the praise in the world.
 

Utopia

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Awesome. Job creators who out of an idea in their head and a lot work create opportunities for other people to feed themselves and their families deserve all the praise in the world.
As great is that is, short-lived this experience will be. Most all will be moving away from employees in the future. Enjoy this experience while it lasts.
 

OldFaithful

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I doubt B&M will disappear entirely, more likely those with debt/weaknesses are being weeded out of the market. Consider Walmart...does that B&M look like it's going away any time soon?

I think the biggest weakness of Sears & Kmart are their brand images. I suspect that today's young consumers see Sears as their parent's department store, and Kmart as "out of touch", or just not cool enough. Does the phrase "Blue Light Special" have a positive or negative connotation? That marketing ploy was cheesy enough to kill Kmart all on it's own!

The marketplace has changed, true, but there are still a number of products that beg for a physical B&M location.

I hate to see big American brands/jobs disappear, but the customer has spoken. As an aspiring B&M myself, perhaps there is something to learn here...
 

Utopia

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I doubt B&M will disappear entirely, more likely those with debt/weaknesses are being weeded out of the market. Consider Walmart...does that B&M look like it's going away any time soon?

I think the biggest weakness of Sears & Kmart are their brand images. I suspect that today's young consumers see Sears as their parent's department store, and Kmart as "out of touch", or just not cool enough. Does the phrase "Blue Light Special" have a positive or negative connotation? That marketing ploy was cheesy enough to kill Kmart all on it's own!

The marketplace has changed, true, but there are still a number of products that beg for a physical B&M location.

I hate to see big American brands/jobs disappear, but the customer has spoken. As an aspiring B&M myself, perhaps there is something to learn here...
Nothing to do with brand images. It has everything to do with being an efficient allocation of resources. Walmart has worked and will continue to work because they match the most efficient way of getting the things that people need with a price of value.

As businesses develop they become better at doing this. They cut wages and find out better ways of distribution to get people what they need more efficiently. When they do this, then they can charge a lower price.
 

OldFaithful

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Walmart has worked and will continue to work because they match the most efficient way of getting the things that people need with a price of value.
Have you done actual price comparison between the stores, or has their marketing/branding convinced you that 1 is cheaper than the other?
 

miked_d

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The mall in my town while growing up had two anchor stores - Sears and Kmart. Since my mother worked at Sears, a lot of the stuff in our house came from there. The first tool I purchased was Craftsman (10mm wrench, still have).

I've bought a lot of tools and other stuff there over the years. When I needed a tool, any tool, I used to go to Sears. The Craftsman name used to mean hand tools that were guaranteed for life so I new it would last. Then they started making exceptions. Then they introduced a new name without the guarantee (Sears Home?) that doesn't seem to exist anymore. Quality declined.

I started to hate going there because it was in the mall. It was a lot easier to go to the auto parts store for a tool. Why spend the extra time and money for a tool I would likely use once?

In a nutshell, declining quality and being inconvenienced made me go elsewhere.
 

million$$$smile

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Inefficiency coupled with non technological innovation will cause any B&M to become insolvent.

It's tough operating any business that takes one salesperson to work with one customer at a time compared to multiple customers ordering simultaneously
online.

Tough but not impossible.

It means that each salesperson has to have an ear for what each customer is looking for when they walk in the door. And if they don't carry it, is it something we might consider. At least that is what I have found in my limited experience with B&M.
I initially opened my doors carrying tools for the construction industry. But then quickly realized that there was no way one could compete with the Big Box handyman stores. It would have been inefficient to operate that way. But I did notice the small amount of safety products, Ie: safety vests, hi-viz clothing, harnesses etc seemed to move quickly.

So we evolved.

We still carry some industrial tools (some our own private brand) but now have a full line of safety equipment (PPE) for commercial/industrial construction.
Because of this, our marketing has had to evolve also. One cannot depend on selling one hard hat to one individual efficiently and keep the doors open. It takes pursuing mega customers (utilities, general contractors, Gov't entities, etc) and bidding on large orders, yet still keeping the doors open for the little guy. Because that little guy is as good a word of mouth as anyone and many times sends large accounts our way.

In order to do this, employee involvement has to be the case. They have to want to see the business grow, because they are the ears to what the customer wants. So I feel there has to be an incentive greater than just an hourly wage or salary. They have to have some skin in the game to incentivize their 'cooperation'. ie: The Great Game of Business-Jack Stack

No one can do it alone. And why would one want to?

But, perhaps that cannot work in large chain stores, I dunno.

In the meantime:

Aeropostale-closing 670 stores
Chicos-120 stores
Childrens Place-125
Mens Wearhouse/Jos A. Banks 250
Office Depot 300

Evolve or die.
 

MJ DeMarco

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I worked at Sears as a teen. Back then it was a cemetery! I can't imagine how it is now.

The fact is, it's become too easy to log in to Amazon and buy what you need. B&M retail is in serious trouble unless they start leveraging their assets as assets. I can't remember the last RETAIL store I went into that was busy -- they all seem desolate -- Best Buy, JcPenney, Sears, and even Target.

Many of these companies have been slow to adapt -- Sears hasn't adapted at all.

TJMaxx and Marshalls seem to have weathered the storm.
 

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I worked at Sears as a teen. Back then it was a cemetery! I can't imagine how it is now.

The fact is, it's become too easy to log in to Amazon and buy what you need. B&M retail is in serious trouble unless they start leveraging their assets as assets. I can't remember the last RETAIL store I went into that was busy -- they all seem desolate -- Best Buy, JcPenney, Sears, and even Target.

Many of these companies have been slow to adapt -- Sears hasn't adapted at all.

TJMaxx and Marshalls seem to have weathered the storm.

So true

Prime example........................RADIO SHACK R.I.P
 

Fox

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Not to get political but since we are on the topic...


"Macy’s promptly declared it was cutting ties and dumping Trump’s clothing line because of “disparaging” remarks about Mexicans.

Trump fired back, declaring the company supports illegal immigration. His supporters even shredded their Macy’s credit cards and tens of thousands called to complain about the company’s cave to political correctness.

Trump himself also called for a boycott of the company."



They got in the political arena and lost. People want to be told less and less what to do and how to think by companies. There is a huge backlash across the board against similar events (look at the many heavily down voted PC correct videos in the last few weeks).

Any business that thinks it has some form of platform to "preach" is putting itself in serious trouble. With such a divided country/world at the moment taking a strong stand on anything (as a company) that alienates a large % of your customers is a death wish.

I think, just like this forum, whatever your views you run a business as just that - a business. Leave your own personal views and opinions out of it.

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 3.57.24 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 3.58.05 PM.png
 
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Utopia

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Have you done actual price comparison between the stores, or has their marketing/branding convinced you that 1 is cheaper than the other?
Not really sure how this argument has any use here? Price is irrelevant and marketing has even less of importance here. Doing a price comparison makes little sense here also.

Business is just an efficient allocation of resources. People want the most value for the least cost. This is determined by the market. Thus, why Walmarts are all over the United States. They solve problems that consumers are looking for answers to in an efficient manner. This could be not thinking about which store to go to, or not having to do a price check, or just making one trip to one store to get everything that one needs.

Walmart is not the discussion. Efficient ways of doing business and bringing value to other people is.
 

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Have you done actual price comparison between the stores, or has their marketing/branding convinced you that 1 is cheaper than the other?

Was in Hawaii last month and me and my friends decided to get fishing poles. Went to Sears, it was dead, bought 2 fishing poles for $40.

The next morning the fishing poles got stolen. So we went to Target, had the same poles for $37.

Next morning we decided to get one more pole for another person, went to Walmart and it was $35.

We only went to sears because it was the closest store to us when we made the decision to buy. Man was the store empty in both customers and selection. At Sears we had to settle for the only fishing poles they had.

At Target and Walmart we were able to choose from about 5-6 different types.
 

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TJMaxx and Marshalls seem to have weathered the storm.

This is because the stuff in these stores you can't find online. I go there because I don't know what I'll find but chances are I'll find a nice tshirt for $8.99 that was/is online for $29.99.
 

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B&M retail is in serious trouble unless they start leveraging their assets as assets. I can't remember the last RETAIL store I went into that was busy -- they all seem desolate -- Best Buy, JcPenney, Sears, and even Target.

The designer shops by the airport have flights of international women swarming them at all times, paying cash for every designer you can think of (Prada, LV, etc....). They are killing it.

My wife/mom/sisters still plow over to the mall on Black Friday every year and come home with bags of stuff, just from different stores.

I asked my wife why we don't just use Peapod/Amazon/etc... for groceries, she says she likes the shopping experience. The upscale grocery stores around my house are growing like gangbusters.

Sears,JCP, Macys are just whiffing on the key ongoing B&M market (women). When my grandma won't even shop there, you know you have a problem. There is still huge money in store B&M if you can get the brand and experience right. That said, eventually people will shift over more of their commodity buying (groceries, household staples, etc...) online...its inevitable. Luxury goods and upscale shopping can still be extremely lucrative B&M though.
 

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I can't imagine the manhattan Macy's closing due to the footfall, however there's Nothing worse than doing a hike around Macy's, trying to find the correct up/down escalator and then finding the men's store before I can even beggin shopping, I think I've been there 20 times and never bought anything as I'm fed up of the store before I get to the checkout.
It's the same kind of frustration you get when you have slow internet, you know what you want, but it's just so far away and too much effort
 

Utopia

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The designer shops by the airport have flights of international women swarming them at all times, paying cash for every designer you can think of (Prada, LV, etc....). They are killing it.

My wife/mom/sisters still plow over to the mall on Black Friday every year and come home with bags of stuff, just from different stores.

I asked my wife why we don't just use Peapod/Amazon/etc... for groceries, she says she likes the shopping experience. The upscale grocery stores around my house are growing like gangbusters.

Sears,JCP, Macys are just whiffing on the key ongoing B&M market (women). When my grandma won't even shop there, you know you have a problem. There is still huge money in store B&M if you can get the brand and experience right. That said, eventually people will shift over more of their commodity buying (groceries, household staples, etc...) online...its inevitable. Luxury goods and upscale shopping can still be extremely lucrative B&M though.
It's important to note also that the barrier to entry for these businesses becomes higher as well. Because of rising salaries and high start up costs such of a 'Department Store', it probably isn't the case that a lot of new competition is entering the market. This compounds when the product that you are selling is an experience instead of cost vs value standard transactions as we see online. Definitely interesting that these shops are largely kept alive by the women looking for that experience, I wonder how it will look years from now.
 

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The most interesting this I've learned recently, is Sears is more advanced ava further ahead than walmart in terms of catching amazon (it'll never happen). Sears must have dumped money into it, but it was a lost cause.

Did you know that sears has its own FBA like service for third party merchants? Wal-Mart.com can't even send you an email when you get an order...! The thing is, the greater volume is on Wal-Mart's side. They have better quality cheap stuff and an incredible range of products. Last time I was in Sears, it was incredibly poor quality stuff at high prices.
 

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Malls are only for consumers if you enter the mall with a consumer mindset.

The mall is rich with live, veritable examples of successful and failing businesses, trends, fads, marketing methods, mathematical and methodical placement of goods, layouts, etc. Could be the merchant on a hover board subtlety attracting parents' kids over so he can work his magic for a sale, or the sit as long as you want in this $8000 massage chair or $5000 mattress store (social proof for the real buyers), the Teavanna giving out samples with ungodly amounts of sugar, Tesla doing nothing but advertising with a high end show cased model, Apple's approach to customers walking in, etc.

Within 15 minutes you can see a hundred stores' approach to business often times within shouting distance of their competitors.

I never buy anything, but I usually enjoy immersing myself at the mall once in a while to see what's piquing peoples' interests.

As for large scale B&M's, I think we'll see less of those. Specialty shops will be more successful as they have more value to add in the form of knowledgeable salespeople who can not only pitch their $15 bar of soap but can explain the science behind it; rub some on your skin and wash it off, and then help you make the emotional connection as to why you need it right now for your girlfriend or wife. That is how you can compete with Amazon selling $2 bars of soap.
 
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MidwestLandlord

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A lot of these B&M stores are even slower in sales than they appear, because of "show-rooming"

Best buy is a good example of this. I remember reading their CEO said that only a small percentage of their traffic actually makes a purchase. That's why best buy is hitting online marketing hard, trying to catch the customers that like to physically view the product, but then go buy it cheaper online.
 

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I think there will always be the large more general stores like Walmarts and Targets. But the days of these Macy type stores is coming to an end. The one by me is closing. And its considered small for a Macys. I never understood how it stayed in business in the first place. A very large space of overpriced cloths and perfume. I just think the ship sailed. Im curious what happens as some of the older generations die off that currently dont shop online as much.

Malls in general are on the way out. I know the mall here where Macys is leaving will probably collapse soon. Was already getting bare in the smaller units and now loses the biggest unit in the mall. Cant imagine they find another company to fill that space. This is happening all over the country.

Probably start seeing more small strip malls.

"The decline in traffic has been stunning: In 2010, there were 35 million visits to malls, according to the real-estate research firm Cushman and Wakefield. By 2013, there were 17 million visits — a 50% decline."

American malls are dying faster than you think — and it's about to get even worse
 

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The most interesting this I've learned recently, is Sears is more advanced ava further ahead than walmart in terms of catching amazon (it'll never happen). Sears must have dumped money into it, but it was a lost cause.

Did you know that sears has its own FBA like service for third party merchants? Wal-Mart.com can't even send you an email when you get an order...! The thing is, the greater volume is on Wal-Mart's side. They have better quality cheap stuff and an incredible range of products. Last time I was in Sears, it was incredibly poor quality stuff at high prices.

Yes, It was awesome.

I was selling on Sears as a marketplace ( like Amazon ) via Channel Advisor several years ago. Was good for soft goods.
 

million$$$smile

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Malls in general are on the way out.

In the video, a major retail analyst states that roughly 400 of America's 1100 enclosed malls will shutter their doors in the not too distant future. Blame Amazon and online shopping for the retail slump.

12 Major Retailers Closing Stores Like Crazy

If that is the case, it will be interesting to see if a new opportunity appears to utilize all of the retail space being abandoned.
 

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In the video, a major retail analyst states that roughly 400 of America's 1100 enclosed malls will shutter their doors in the not too distant future. Blame Amazon and online shopping for the retail slump.

12 Major Retailers Closing Stores Like Crazy

If that is the case, it will be interesting to see if a new opportunity appears to utilize all of the retail space being abandoned.

This is a great point.

Someone built a new strip mall near me, there are 3 restaurants and an activity center now too. It has become fully occupied in about 12 months. I think the activity/experience thing will be where the opportunity is. Or, perhaps converting empty mall spaces into offices for online startups.
 

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