Sears' turnaround plan short on detai...

Sears' turnaround plan short on details, long on odds

There are 40 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Feb 2, 2008, titled Sears' turnaround plan short on details, long on odds. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

At a Seattle gathering of CEOs in May, Crate & Barrel retail visionary Gordon Segal sat next to billionaire investor Edward Lampert and asked: Why did you buy Sears? He bought Sears, the financier told the ...

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u gotta be kidding

Melrose Park, IL

#1 Feb 2, 2008
hey eddie,
-start with a name change!!!
-don't hire anyone who has had any experience in fast chicken franchises. they have a track record now and it's not too good.
-think vertically, act horizontally.

i won't even charge you for that advice.

Wilmette, IL

#2 Feb 2, 2008
They've adopted the FEMA approach to a disaster. To little, To late
Retail Expert

Norwalk, OH

#3 Feb 2, 2008
-Swallow your pride and bring back into Sears key hardlines executives that were exited , regrettably too quickly and now you're feeling/seeing the result.
- Quickly establish a strategy that builds releveance for the product offerings of Sears and the American consumer.
- Upgrade key talent (if possible). Much damage has been done in this area to date... maybe too late.
- Sears can only live through one more major turnaround and then it's over for good.
A department store fan

Paducah, KY

#4 Feb 2, 2008
It will be a race to see who'll go out of business first, Sears or Macy's. Both are floundering.....

America has turned away from the boring homogenization of the department store; but try telling that to Mr. Lampert or Mr. Lundgren. Both are like "deers in headlights" offering cheap Chinese produced private label crap that no one wants. Macy's reinvention of the department store was to have exclusives with Tommy Hilfinger and Martha Stewart; please, both are has-beens from the 90's. Martha sells at K-Mart, what makes Macy customers want to spend 100% more for the same cheaply made crap??? At least Sears sells reliable appliances, Craftsman Tools and has a decent Land's End product line. It will be interesting to see how this plays out...but I'm not holding my breath.

Mishawaka, IN

#5 Feb 2, 2008
Admit defeat and shut down the entire operation.

America doesn't need another sick retailer. Cash out and payoff the investors.
Craftsman Kenmore Diehard

United States

#6 Feb 2, 2008
I love Craftsman tools, Kenmore appliances, and Diehard batteries. I hope that as Eddie takes these folks back into a vertical business structure, he can make it work. They area a part of American Life that I don't want to see go away.

Wilmette, IL

#7 Feb 2, 2008
Craftsman Kenmore Diehard wrote:
I love Craftsman tools, Kenmore appliances, and Diehard batteries. I hope that as Eddie takes these folks back into a vertical business structure, he can make it work. They area a part of American Life that I don't want to see go away.
Pan Am, Edsel, Marshall Fields, Montgomery Wards etc.. All part of the American way of life. All gone, but the American way of life still keeps going. Those lines you mentioned will be picked up by other retailers, there good stuff. Especially the tools.
Customer is Always Right

Lombard, IL

#8 Feb 2, 2008
Sears is one of the few stores still around today where they supply virtually every non-food material you need for life -- appliances, home goods, clothing, electronics, auto services.

But if the executive team ever walked into a few of their Chicago-area stores, they would be embarrassed. In my experience, it took 7 Sears associates 20 minutes to figure out how to get the 10% off that was promised in an ad. They don't ever stock replacement filters for a vacuum we bought there. In fact, they never seem to have the appropriate merchandise in stock.

I bought a camera there for a Christmas present and someone from Sears called a few days later to ask how we liked the camera. It was before Christmas and my wife answered and it spoiled the surprise.

Pay more attention to customer feedback.

Miamisburg, OH

#9 Feb 2, 2008
What needs to be done:

1) Acknowledge people who do shop Sears do so for hardlines....not softlines. Therefore, create a store that has the following departments: Appliances (including small kitchen and personal such as razors and hair dryers etc. as well as cookware and accessories), Tools and Hardware, Paint (Weatherbeater and Easy Living brands need to be reenergized), Fitness and "Fun" (meaning selling pool and ping pong tables, basket ball courts, Trampolines etc.), upgraded assemble yourself Furniture (a step or two up from what you would find at Wal-Mart or Kmart) and Mattresses (also perhaps including lamps and area rugs), a Seasonal department, and an Auto Repair and parts center. The usual Licensed Businesses such as Photo, Optical and H&R Block etc. would also be present as well as installed sales. They would have to have dominate selections and probably need 60,000 to 90,000 sq ft. to do right.

2)Kmart is a traditional discount store and needs to return to it's roots. All Sears brands need to go, and Kmart's in better areas should get the Lands End shops. They should be 125,000 sq ft. Keep the Blue Light cartoon character as that is unique and again play off the old slogan "The Saving Place".

3) The hardware stores, Great Indoors etc. need to be sold or closed with the focus being to build the prototype Sears and Kmart stores. They could both locate in the same center as they would now have 2 distinct target markets. If successful, the focus would be building replacement stores in the coming years.

FYI - Macy's is nowhere near ready to fail like Sears is Paducah's comment is obviously based on a bias.. not fact!
Andy is back

Plainfield, IL

#10 Feb 2, 2008
... and we can discount his FYI as being just a Macy's corporate shill. How were same store sales in the State Street store this year? Please post the numbers (as well as disclose how blogging is part of you job title at Federated, oh I mean M).

Getting back to the point, A Department Store Fan is completely correct on all points. But, to add a few:

1. Sears doesn't know whether it wants to be Kohls (which its stores now resembles) or J.C. Penney. It is neither in malls, such as Golf Mill, that have both.

2. While I don't know about Craftsman, Kenmore is just another Whirlpool manufactured brand, and the only equity in Kenmore is the brand name. Whirlpool also manufactures Maytag and KitchenAid, brands with more cachet that you can buy at places like Abt. So, Sears is not in the high end of that market.

3. Apparently it hurts that Sears is run by financial people instead of marketers who know their local markets. Macy's may have marketers, but it proved that THEY DON'T KNOW THE LOCAL MARKET.

4. If Lampert was such a real estate genius, there still wouldn't be the vacant Great Indoors and K-Mart stores in my neighborhood (also note that the post doesn't indicate where I live, since my IP address has been floating around).

5. Basically Sears will not turn it around until they differentiate their products, find what the local markets want, and, for that matter, not dilute their brand with side businesses with poor reputations, such as appliance repair and home improvement.

United States

#11 Feb 2, 2008
of course they have problems. turning sears into kmart will turn everyone off. just go to kmart today- most shelves are empty. kmart destroyed sears. soon it will be sold and replaced by a foreign owned company with ties to China, India, Europe. And bonuses for the top brass leaders.
Pat Kamuda

Puryear, TN

#12 Feb 2, 2008
I sent a letter to Sears once. However there was no response. I told them that I knew part of the problem and iterated my last trip. No customer service, told that the air cleaner would be on sale in the future so he wouldn't sell it to me. No one cares about customer service. I then went to the bra dept. and could not get any help there. That was in Paducah, KY.
Andy is back

Plainfield, IL

#13 Feb 2, 2008
I should have also mentioned:

6. The usual image of Sears is the mall store. However, all of its experimental format have not worked, and need to be scrapped. What was the deal with turning K-Marts into "Sears Essentials." It just became a K-Mart with salespersons. Similarly, Sears Grand is not such a grand idea. Who wants to buy an expensive flat screen TV in a place that looks like an overgrown K-Mart, especially when the specifications are at floor level? Again, I would rather shop at Abt, where they know customer service and how to display their goods. WalMart and Target know the low end, and there isn't room for Sears to move there.

Miamisburg, OH

#14 Feb 2, 2008
I absolutely love retail. And my attachment is as a heterosexual male, not an emotional homosexual male. I use logic, not emotions, in what I say. I read everything I can on all major retailers and comment often. I find it fascinating. It has nothing to due with my employer. I proudly work for Macy's though.
Dear Andy

Wilmette, IL

#15 Feb 2, 2008
Andy wrote:
I absolutely love retail. And my attachment is as a heterosexual male, not an emotional homosexual male. I use logic, not emotions, in what I say. I read everything I can on all major retailers and comment often. I find it fascinating. It has nothing to due with my employer. I proudly work for Macy's though.
Where is the logic in announcing your sexuality in a thread about Sears. I also see no logic in branding all alternative lifestyle males as emotional. I do find logic in calling you homophobic though.
Slick 1

Roselle, IL

#16 Feb 2, 2008
I had sears fixed my 4 year old kenmore fridge one time for $200.00. It broke a month later.I went to best buy and bought a new refridgerator. When I called Sears for at least some of my money back.They flat out refused. I hope they go under.
A department store fan

Paducah, KY

#18 Feb 2, 2008
Andy, and you call us from Paducah hicks? Macy's to allow such homophobic attitudes to be filtrated through their corporate ranks makes alot of us understand how down market Macy's really is. It sinks their level of "supposed" shophisticated retailing to a new low. I give more credit to Sears Executives than Macy's these days. I've been shopping Lands End the last several years versus all that cheap Alphony crap that Macy's sells as their knock-off "affordable luxury" lines. Your marketing prowness to take away so many venerable name plates including the iconic Marshall Field's and turning them into one big "Macy's Bargain Basement Bin" type store sure makes me feel the "Excitement of Messy's". Macy's is left to do nothing more know than to continue closing and selling off more stores, cutting employee ranks and divesting of more assets. Even the Cin. Enquirer hasn't been kind to Macy's as of late. Go Sears!!

Chicago, IL

#19 Feb 2, 2008
I hope Sears makes it...if only to have an alternative to the other stores. Those of you that think that ANY department store is selling anything but Chinese-made crap is fooling himself. At least with Sears there is known quality in many of their brands that has not wavered.
As for Andy's comments, the one I totally agree with is...GET OUT OF THE WOMEN'S CLOTHING BIZ. OK, so there's a lot of profit to be made in clothing, and the Lands End product should stay...but the rest of the product is simply not attractive to women. Focus time, energy, and retail space on product that will sell, not product that could make money if it did sell (but it doesn't!)
Lot BoyVT

Worcester, VT

#20 Feb 2, 2008
Sear's appliances are fine but have you tried to get them repaired. The online process is tedious. Then the earliest appointment is at least a week away 'cause we're only in your area one day a week. Then the repair guy comes to look - not fix 'cause they have to order parts, even though the problem is well documented in the on line process. You'd think they'd bring basic parts at least. The repair guy then orders parts to be sent to me, ETA unknown. All this followed by numerous phone calls to tell me parts on the way, some day.
It winds up being a month + before anything is fixed. The repair guys have all been very nice, present themselves well and wind up fixing the device but a month is just too long wo wait. No more sears stuff for me. It's also too bad they bought Land's End. I shopped LE since they were on Elston Ave in Chicago but no more. Sears has taken all the warm fuzzy out of LE. IT's back to LL Bean for me.

Since: Oct 07


#21 Feb 2, 2008
the sears / k-mart wedded together stores have nothing to offer the whole product line is a big hodge podge a mess and gives me no reason to go there stand alone k-marts are no better than they were when they went bankrupt quite a mess can you say Montgomery Wards Will the last person leaving Sears please turn out the lights we need to save money for Eddie.

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