Retail stores appear most frequently on lists of declining businesses, so it comes to no surprise that Sears is again at risk of disappearing in 2017. However, Sears has arguably fared the worst of the department stores since 2015. In April of 2016, it announced its plans to close down almost 70 K-Marts and 10 Sears stores over that summer. The decision was made after a slew of poor performances in quarterly earnings. In fact, sales have declined for the corporation every year since 2005.
This may come as a small surprise to some as Sears Holdings Corporation, the parent of Kmart and Sears, Roebuck and Co. touts to be the leading home appliance retailer in North America and a leader in sales for tools, lawn and garden, home electronics, and automotive repair and maintenance. They have a plethora of proprietary brands including Kenmore, Craftsman and Die Hard while offering a broad range of apparel lines such as Lands’ End, Jaclyn Smith and Joe Boxer.
In May of 2016, The Wall Street Journal looked into the revenue decline while reporting the company is looking to explore deals for the aforementioned key brands. It was also noted that the financial chief and long time lieutenant CEO, Edward Lampert would be leaving. Sears also said that Chief Financial Officer Robert Schriesheim is leaving the company to pursue other career paths but was staying on as an adviser until January. Schriesheim was one of the company’s longest serving executives joining in 2011 and had been a key lieutenant to Lampert during a series of financial maneuvers aimed at liquidating assets to keep the company above water.
Sears has struggled over the years to transform itself. They have invested in new technologies and services to better equip themselves for the digital age. It has also returned its focus to profitability with a focus on assortment, sourcing, pricing and inventory management practices sometimes being the cause of sale loss.