Sears Just Doesn't Look Like It Wants Our Business Anymore

A glorious Saturday afternoon, and Sears (SHLD) is virtually empty. Merchandise is all jumbled; aisles are blocked; it looks dispirited. After a spate of photo stories on the disarray at Sears, I wanted to look for myself. The sadder side of Sears, indeed. J.C. Penney (JCP) and Macy's (M) in the same mall in suburban Maryland were busier, neater and drawing younger customers.

If you remember the slogan, "the softer side of Sears," then you're the typical Sears age demographic, and if you never heard it, you are the younger shopper it desires but can't attract. Sears Holdings' (SHLD) sales have declined for years as it loses customers to Kohl's (KSS) and J.C. Penney and as younger customers throng to Macy's.

Most mall anchor stores are struggling. A recent Piper Jaffray survey found that teens aren't hanging out at the mall anymore and prefer a social "experience," preferably at a restaurant. Sears and Sears Holdings' Kmart stores have been hit particularly hard. CEO Eddie Lampert noted on the most recent earnings call that shoppers only visit three stores per mall trip now, compared to five in 2007.

The Sadder Side of Sears

A Sears "experience" lately has been fairly grim. More stores are closing, 300 in the last four years and a possible 500 going forward, including its Chicago flagship store this month. Why would anyone shop there? The fashion is fresher at Macy's, prices often better at Kohl's or Target (TGT), tools and appliances available at Home Depot (HD) or Lowe's (LOW). Even J.C. Penney is cleaner and fresher looking. Photo-laden stories document disarray at Sears, Kmart and Walmart (WMT) stores.

See the full article on Daily Finance.

Annalisa Kraft has no position in these companies.

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