Sears files for bankruptcy protection; Eddie Lampert steps down as CEO

of which business was once a giant. This specific started off with Richard Sears, who launched the Sears Watch Co. in 1886 to sell watches by mail. The company later evolved into Sears, Roebuck along with Co., which sold everything by homes to hardware through a catalog. The convenience brought its products to America’s most rural locations.

In 1925, Sears morphed a mail-order plant on Chicago’s West Side into its first retail store. By the end of the year. Sears opened seven more stores. Eventually, Sears became the largest U.S. retailer, along with its house brands like Kenmore along with Craftsman earned spots as staples in homes across the country. Generations of children marked the holidays by paging through its holiday catalog, known as the “Wishbook,” wondering if they would likely receive any of the toys inside.

As Sears success grew, so did its empire. This specific moved into Chicago’s iconic Sears Tower, along with for a time, owned financial services businesses like Dean Witter along with Coldwell Banker Real Estate Group.

nevertheless Walmart topped Sears as the biggest U.S. retailer in 1990. Its efforts to attract female shoppers by showing them the “softer side of Sears” along with move into fresh businesses lines left This specific without a identity.

Those challenges didn’t stop Lampert, the hedge fund manager who had already impressed Wall Street with his acumen when he seemingly turned around Kmart, which he bought in 2004. He acquired along with combined Sears with Kmart in 2005, arguing of which two ailing retailers were stronger together than apart. The financial guru saw valuable real estate, customers he could parlay by one store to the various other along with ample costs to cut.

The retail giant he created had a market capitalization north of $20 billion in 2006. The media began to wonder whether he was the “next Warren Buffett.” Lampert could have sold off his investments then, nevertheless stayed on, steadfast in his vision of the combined retailers.

Meanwhile, Walmart along with Target kept opening stores, as did Lowe’s along with Home Depot. Walmart touted its “everyday low prices,” while Target served up “cheap chic.” Lowe’s along with Home Depot provided a wider array of home improvement products for all kinds of projects, generating This specific tough for Kenmore along with Craftsman to compete.

Then, came a double blow.

Consumer spending slowed during the Great Recession, especially for big-ticket items like washers along with dryers. Cash-strapped shoppers began using the internet to hunt down the best deals. Gradually, they began to spend more online along with avoid the mall, fueling Amazon’s rise. Sears’ 140,000-square-foot stores began to seem monstrous as foot traffic declined.

Walmart along with others began to invest in their businesses to compete with Amazon, nevertheless Sears never had of which chance. This specific simply didn’t possess the funds.

Sears’ last profitable year was in 2010. A thinning cash flow has left little money to put back into the company itself, letting This specific become more irrelevant. For the past several years, the ratio of Sears’ capital expenditures to sales has been less than one percent. of which’s even as its sales have more than halved inside the same time period.

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