If you were ever amazed at how quickly you saw tributes to famous persons appear within minutes after their passing, don’t be. Journalists start writing them as soon there is any evidence of an impending demise. Please realize that they’re not doing this because they’re a bunch of sick cynics, but because they’re efficient. Why would they wait for the inevitable, then scramble to write something?
With that, I’m mourning the (impending) passing of an American icon and retail pioneer; Sear Roebuck & Company (1866 to 2018?). I’ll always respect how Sears set the stage for today’s ubiquitous online marketplace through their legendary catalog and the tremendous mail-order sales it produced for over a century.
I’ll fondly remember them as the #1 retailer in the United States going back at least 3 generations. They proudly held this position as recently as 1989, but fell critically ill in the 1990’s as internet fever set in. Without the strength and drive to fight it, they became a shell of their former self and dropped all the way down to #23 in the latest retail rankings.
Sears will always have a place in our hearts as the best place to go for tools and appliances. They also gave credence to the phrase “cutting off your nose to spite your face” by selling their famous Craftsman brand to Black and Decker this year.
Even during their darkest days, they courageously hung on to their respected Kenmore brand of appliances (all of which are made by other manufacturers). Unfortunately, many of their long-time friends did not remain at their side. Many speculated that these partners did not want to pursue IOUs upon Sear’s demise, so they chose to end their relationships – just as one of their oldest friends, Whirlpool, did last month.
Fortunately, we’re all in a better place now. We can buy Craftsman Tools from a variety of retailers and Kenmore appliances can now be purchased at Amazon.com. Trees around the world can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they won’t be cut down to make another Sears catalog. The Sears sales associates dying a slow, lonely, death can find renewed hope and new relationships by working out of a bustling Amazon warehouse.
Most importantly, gap intelligence continues to thrive by expanding the retail and online sites where we track appliance assortments, prices and promotions! We recently added Amazon.com, JC Penney, and Nebraska Furniture Mart to our panel.
A celebration of Sears will take place on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when all competitive retail and online sites will be providing drastic discounts on everyday items. All former Sears shoppers are encouraged to participate and provide monetary donations in their name.