Having survived the past ten months out of bankruptcy, Sears is barely holding its own as it limps into this year's holiday season.
As many may recall, the hedge fund billionaire that bought the fledgling company out of its bankruptcy, Eddie Lambert, promised he would save the brand, as well as the jobs of its employees. As it has turned out, the bold comments did not follow with the success he had intended, and it seems that he is watching his $5.2 billion investment go down the tubes.
There were grand plans that included the introduction of new stores that were to be centered on appliances. However, to date, only three have actually been opened. What is really happening is that the brand is still shrinking. So much so that by February, the store count will be down to an estimated number of 182.
Of those stores that remain and are barely holding on, let's just say they are not putting their best foot forward. They are understaffed, grungy, and still appear as being poorly stocked. Things are so dire that the brand is losing vendors like water through a sieve.
At a time of year, when many retailers are taking advantage of the holiday shopping season, Sear's somewhat threadbare Black Friday catalog is bearing witness to the fact that the stores are still having problems getting the shoppers through its doors.
As for their online presence, like most other retailers, they just are not able to compete with or begin to challenge the juggernaut known as Amazon. What the reality has shown is that a once top of the line brand has faded into the background and, as a result, has become entirely irrelevant.
With the shrinking of the retail chain, comes the anticipated loss of jobs. How many jobs so far, no one knows for sure, as Lambert declines to share the figures. However, experts believe the number is quite high.
In a time of the year that retailers are not only benefiting from the holiday purchases of customers, as well as acquiring new customers to carry them into the new year, Sears is quite honestly losing out. So much so that the signs are looking dark, dire, and ominous.
For a store to survive, it needs to have stock on its shelves. This is only common sense. In the case of Sears, it has been reported that their suppliers are cutting them off. The supply problem is so severe that brands are jumping ship on the Sears website, stating they are not getting paid.
Will this holiday season prove to be the death rattle for Sears?