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Retail apocalypse continues as Sears files for bankruptcy

142 more stores to close, but that might be just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Key Takeaways
  • Sears to close 142 stores immediately amid bankruptcy filing.
  • Dozens of Kmart stores — owned by Sears since 2004 — already scheduled for closing in November.
  • Will it affect a store near you?

Sears announced on Monday that it’s in bankruptcy proceedings, along with the immediate closure of 142 stores nation-wide. With the news comes the stepping down of Sears CEO Edward Lampert, who had held the position since 2013.

With this, the phenomenon of national and international retail stores closing doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Those pants, tho …

Ancestry.com

With the fresh closures of Sears and Kmart stores, it’s now down to less than 700 retail locations—1/3 of the stores it operated in 2013.

This also comes on the heels of Sears and Kmart ceasing its sales relationship with iconic brands Whirlpool, KitchenAid, and Maytag, which it had maintained for 100 years.

Sears, Roebuck, and Co. catalog, 1909

Image credit: Abe Books

Humble beginnings …

The company, started in 1886 by Richard W. Sears, a Minnesota railway agent who wanted to get into the watch business, was soon to be co-owned by business partner Alvah Roebuck.

By 1895, the company named was officially “Sears, Roebuck, and Co.” and the mail-order book, or catalog, had grown to 532 pages of much more than watches.

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Interestingly, given the takeover of many thing that used to be retail by Amazon and online ordering, Sears identified a market early-on of farmers, who would soon buy their supplies and equipment from rural general stores, at a discount. For a number of years, it self-identified in its catalogs as the “Cheapest Supply House on Earth.”

Interactive map by:

USA Today

It remains to be seen whether the company can survive much longer.

For a list of stores closing, there’s an interactive map at the bottom of the article here.

With the closures of Sears and Kmart stores, it’s now down to less than 700 —1/3 of the stores it operated in 2013 — less than 700.

Also, here’s an emerging point of view on what’s happening behind the scenes in this situation:

(If that doesn’t work, the Tweet is here: https://twitter.com/ddayen/status/1051702252774207488)



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