Kmart and Sears, Is It The Death of the Giants?
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Kmart and Sears, Is It The Death of the Giants?

Kmart and Sears closing stores. Kmart and Sears two cultural icons maybe on their knees.

There aren’t too many people today that can’t say that they haven’t been inside of Kmart or Sears at some pointing their life. Many have also been around when you would be inside of a Kmart and hear the announcement of a “Blue Light Special”. For many these stores represent the places where their parents shopped when they were kids. Unfortunately for the Kmart/Sears stores their holiday sales in 2011 slumped to over 27%. Several reasons have been cited including competition from such giants as Macy’s, Target and of course Wal-mart. This coupled with the fact that they haven’t spruced up their stores as well as the competition, deterioration of many stores and neglecting to keep up with current electronic trends have caused a huge decline in their sales leading to a closure of 120 stores.

Sears and Kmart merged in 2005. Sears, founded in 1886 as a mail-order catalog, was begun by Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck. They started out selling watches, shoes, clothes and guns. The first catalog came out in 1888 for farmer’s and consumers so they would know what they were buying, the price and ease of ordering. It became know as “The Consumer’s Bible”. In 1895 Julius Rosenwald joined as part owner and they sold more and more diverse items including autos and build-it-yourself homes as well as clothing and toys. Eventually the catalog grew to over 500 pages. The first Sears retail store opened in Chicago on February 2, 1925.

Kmart founded by Sebastian Kreage when he met Frank Woolworth. Kreage and John McCory bought 2 five and dimes and called them S.S. Kreage. In 1907 Kresge bought out McCory and by 1929 had 597 stores. The first Kmart was opened in 1962 under Harry Cunningham. Kmart merged with Sears on November 17, 2004. Both Kmart and Sears have name brands associated with them. We tend to associate Sears with Craftsman and Kenmore. Kmart is associated with big name celebrities such as Martha Stewart, Kathy Ireland and Jaclyn Smith.

Both chains have managed to survive difficult times including the Depression. It remains to be seen whether they will be able to pull themselves out of this financial chasm they have fallen into. If they hope to survive it would probably be wise for them to get on the electronics highway, get up to the times and update the stores that seem to be pulling down the numbers they need to survive. Times they are a changing and apparently they have neglected to pay attention or someone was asleep at the wheel. It’s always sad to see something that reminds us of our childhood but if you don’t evolve the rule is you will become obsolete.


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Comments (2)

nice history

Interesting history . . . .