Sears has lost more than $8bn in the past five years. Its stock, once trading above $100, closed at $13.30 in late May. Some mall owners are eager to replace its stores with those of more vibrant tenants. And the company said it would consider selling some of its crown jewels: the Kenmore appliance, DieHard battery, and Craftsman tool brands.
The retailer has suffered from an industrywide decline as Americans spend differently and on different things. People are buying fewer clothes, spending more on dining and other experiences, and saving more. In the mid-1980s, 45 percent of consumer spending went to goods, the remainder to services. Today those figures are 31 percent and 69 percent, respectively, according to Customer Growth’s Johnson. When Americans do buy goods, they’re shifting where they shop—not just to online, but to off-mall retailers, such as Walmart, Costco Wholesale, and T.J. Maxx.
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