Despite Amazon Tire Deal, Talk Of A Sears Turnaround Is Just Hot Air

by MR Magazine Staff

Having spent 12 years of my career at Sears, I find it particularly sad to see the once-storied retailer sink slowly into oblivion in what I frequently refer to as the world’s slowest liquidation sale. Equally troubling is the continued efforts by Eddie Lampert, chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings, to suggest a transformation is still possible. As I have written before — and there is no nice way to say this — you’d have to be either gullible or stupid to believe that anything resembling a turnaround is in the cards. So from a “Can Sears be saved?” point of view, despite the short-term pop in the stock price, there is nothing remotely hopeful in yesterday’s announcement that will start selling Sears’ tires. As with last year’s similar Kenmore deal, Sears may slightly delay the inevitable, but Amazon is likely the real winner. Having held the (oxymoronic) title of vice president for corporate strategy at Sears at one point, I know that its private brands (and the services that surround them) once represented the core of Sears’ consumer and shareholder value. Set the wayback machine to 15 years or so ago, and brands like Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard collectively were worth many multiples of what Sears Holdings in its entirety is worth today. Starting in the mid-1990s, as Sears lost market share to category killers such as Home Depot, Lowe’s and Best Buy, the value of these proprietary brands began a pronounced and prolonged descent. Read more at Forbes.