What’s the Deal with Sears Holdings?

Sears Holdings is escalating its number of store closures. Or maybe it isn’t. Crowd-sourced financial news website Seeking Alpha reported yesterday that Sears Holdings will close more than 110 outlets and lay off more than 6,000 workers.

Sears Holdings has not commented, but Seeking Alpha journalist Mitch Nolen has proof that Sears Holdings plans to close more Sears and Kmart stores than it initially announced in August.

While the demise of Sears may not come as a surprise, It’s sad to see the down side of Sears.

I know a lot of people see Sears as that great place that had magnificent fashion and that huge catalog you used to make your Christmas list, and Kmart as stores that are as outdated as they were in the 70s.

But when you compare Sears Holdings with its big box counterparts, Sears Holdings seems to be ahead of the curve when it comes to innovation and technology. For example, in April, Sears introduced the digital “Get Advice” tool for its Shop Your Way loyalty club members. And in September, Sears added returns to its curbside pick-up program. In-store pick-up was also expanded across Sears and Kmart brands in July.

However, Sears Holdings is losing money like crazy. In the first two quarters of 2014, Sears Holdings had a net loss of nearly $1 billion. Sears Holdings is having a hard time shedding itself of its Sears Canada stores, and it is downsizing seven locations by leasing out space to other mall-based merchants.

And then there’s the Shop Your Way program itself. While it’s created a lot of visibility for Sears Holdings, many skeptics think it’s too little, too late for Sears Holdings, and note the merchant is giving too much away to its members to get them to shop with them.

While Sears and Kmart are both a little slice of Americana, it doesn’t mean they’ll last forever. Hopefully Sears Holdings will survive the holiday season, and will get a chance to reorganize in some way. I’m sure no one wants to see these two brands cease to exist.

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