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The Not-So Shocking Demise of Sears

  • (0:15) - Sears Downfall: What Happened?
  • (1:00) - Company Background: Consumer Bible, Online Retail and Mergers
  • (4:00) - Is The Economy To Blame?
  • (6:10) - Amazon Partners With Sears: Is There Still Hope?

On this week’s episode of Shopping for Stocks, Editor Maddy Johnson dives into Sears Holdings SHLD, and looks into how the retailer, once America’s largest, fell so far from its former glory.

Launched in 1893, Sears’ beginnings were humble. The company began as a catalog for watches and jewelry under the name Sears, Roebuck, & Co., but quickly grew into a retail empire that became consumers’ go-to store.

Its retail locations, constructed in the 1920s, began outselling its famous catalog by 1931, and Sears exploded, growing and expanding into numerous markets.

From constructing the famous Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower) in Chicago to buying a securities and real estate firms in the 1980s, Sears began to stray from its core retail business, allowing its top competitors like Macy’s M, Walmart WMT, and Home Depot HD to invade to invade its market.

But Sears kept on going, creating a popular online store and merging with Kmart in 2005. During this time, though, Walmart had dethroned Sears to become the biggest retailer in the company, while Amazon AMZN was just beginning to branch out from selling books (and we know now Amazon’s true retail goal).

Sears was losing ground, and losing ground fast. Hit hard by the financial crisis—something the company was never able to recover from—Sears then split itself into several different business units, a decision that caused internal tension, anger, and bitterness.

It’s easy to say that Walmart and Amazon killed Sears, but the retailer itself did a nice job of contributed to its own slow demise. And when you look at its history, a not-so shocking one.

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Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Shopping for Stocks!

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