Sears, Kmart to close stores after disappointing sales

Sears has been unable to solve its lackluster sales problem, in part because appliance buying is way down in the last few years.

Adriene Hill: What holiday cheer there was this shopping season didn't make it to Sears Holdings Corporation. That's the company that owns Sears and Kmarts. Today, after dismal holiday sales at the two chains, the company announced it'll close somewhere between 100 and 120 stores. Talk about a lump of coal...

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall-Genzer reports.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer: I can't remember the last time I walked into a Kmart store. I went to Sears for the first time in years last summer. The experience was kind of depressing.

Retail analyst Howard Davidowitz says that's exactly the problem. A lot of Sears and Kmarts are shabby; shoppers don't want to linger.

Howard Davidowitz: How on earth are they going to survive? Their stores are rundown, their service is poor. And their assortments are very weak compared to their competitors.

Davidowitz also says Sears and Kmart can't offer the deep discounts of competitors like Wal-Mart and Target. He does say Sears hasn't been hurt that much by online competition. He thinks it has a pretty good website.

But the holiday sales numbers were grim -- they were down about 5 percent at stores open at least a year. Sears hasn't said yet which stores it will close.

I'm Nancy Marshall-Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.


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