Sears is selling Craftsman to Stanley Black & Decker, closing 150 stores


Not quite yet. The court is giving Lampert one more shot at it, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.


Just die already.


I know the current Sears that’s slowly being strangled is a far cry from the Sears & Roebuck of yore, but it’s important to remember the impact the company had on America. For decades the company catalog was one of only a few ways a black American could get the same shopping experience as a white person. White-owned businesses would often decline their business, or treat them like shit, and the few black-owned stores were at the mercy of white banks and wholesalers so they were unable to carry the breadth of stock the bigger stores did. The catalog represented judgment-free shopping, and offered credit terms on bigger purchases, which Montgomery Ward (the next closest competitor) did not.

In many ways, Sears was the Amazon of its time. A disruptive business model that threatened the traditional business model. It just coincidentally had the side-effect of giving black customers a measure of equality.


In the late 70s, when I was a boy, my father (quixotically) bought land in Western North Carolina with the intent of building vacation homes and striking it rich. We had a loyal builder and carpenter, named Alvin, who was in his late 60s, who worked on every build. Salt of the earth, and he became, essentially, an honorary grandfather to me through the years.

He had an ancient set of tools in pristine condition that he used for every task. My Dad was quite taken by the beauty of an excellent, manual squaring saw that Alvin had, and treasured. One day Dad said, “Alvin, what make of saw is that?”

Alvin simply, but proudly, said, “It’s a Roebuck.”


As I said before, Sears should have been Amazon. The only reason Sears failed is due to horrible executive management.


Yep, Sears’ catalog was the Internet shopping of its day (its day being the early 20th century.) They offered a new shopping experience and radically expanded retail universe not just to African-Americans, but to anyone living in a remote or under-served area. Which, back in the day, was most of the US. (You could even order yourself a house out of the catalog.)

Sears spent about 40 years being an innovator, 40 years being an institution, and 40 years in decline. Let’s see if Amazon can do as well!*

*(Not literally because I’ll be dead by then.)


Very well put.


And their failure to foresee the internet shopping wave. I’m sure I said it in this thread … if Sears’ catalog business was still intact, they would likely have been Amazon. They had the logistics down.


The remarkable thing is how common this story is internationally. Germany’s dominant, very old mail order company went bust in 2009. The UK’s, once one of the largest companies in Europe, was sold off and then drastically downsized in the early 2000s. I


It stinks of fat cat executives not wanting to adapt so they can pull down an easy paycheck. That baloney about all CEO’s deserving such high pay… gah.

By the way, were you going to say something else? You left off with “I”…


Sears even had one of the earliest online services, too. It co-founded Prodigy in 1984.

Total failure of imagination.


whoa… I did not know this. That’s stunning.


Classic technology evolution mistake: Overestimating the short-term effects, but Underestimating the long-term effects.


Sears could not have become Amazon because that would have taken revenue away from their bread and butter brick and mortar business and the good ol’ boy network / internal politics / groupthink would never allow that to happen.


Very true. It would have required an internal revolution.

Like Blackberry - they could not adapt to the touchscreen until it was way too late… I’m sure all their managers and leadership never believed people wouldn’t want a physical keyboard on their phone…


I mean to be fair if I could buy a flagship quality device with a hardware keyboard, I’d merrily do so. I hate typing on a touchscreen.


So dying is better than adapting. Good strategy.


Ah, I see you’re a man of both refined musical AND technological taste.


Ladies and kerzaintlemen, I present the finest phone ever manufactured


THIS! Goodness I miss typing on my Droid 4.