Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Death of an Icon

As many probably have heard Sears and Kmart are closing approximately 120 stores since they apparently had an abysmal holiday season. The slide began back in 2005 where according to the Wall Street Journal Sears Holdings Corporation has seen sales drop every year and this year was the worst. I remember a time when Sears was the retail standard. If you needed something you went to Sears. Kmart was always a kind of low priced novelty in my book and most of them have moved out of my immediate area long ago. This made Kmart rather irrelevant to me, but Sears is still at the local mall and while I haven’t shopped there in a while, it is a bit scary to see this retail giant’s decline.

It’s tough to see something so iconic facing hard times, but Sears has had huge problems for a number of years. It begs the questions, “if sales are declining year after year, wouldn’t that suggest that current strategy isn’t working?” It seemed as if Sears had given up, like a dinosaur stuck in a tar pit, Sears saw sales going down but didn’t do anything to change their image or stores. When I was a kid Sears was the place you went to if you needed an appliance, hands down. I still feel this way and currently own a Kenmore vacuum cleaner, food processor and I purchased my washing machine from them. But these are the only items I’ve purchased from them in recent memory and those appliances have worked so well I haven’t had a need to purchase new ones. Could part of Sears’s obsolescence be they make things too good?

 Indulge in a trend to remain fashionable

There is probably a lot going on within Sears that has forced sales downward. Many analysts pointed to lack of customer service, dingy stores and outmoded products, but it is still hard to watch. While Sears still makes great products, its competitors have jazzed up their stores, kept them new and fresh which appeals to shoppers. Shopping is now an experience not a chore and not taking into consideration what your competition is doing could be a bad idea. While not everyone can compete with the big boys, it helps to know what other stores are offering. This is a situation that Sears could have and should have taken care of years ago. While Target and Wal-Mart were updating stores and offering hip products along with good pricing, Sears stuck to it guns and spent less they everyone else on store maintenance, something I’m sure they are not proud of today.

 Trendy and awesome the statement necklace!

While I’ve used some of my personal taste in selecting inventory for my jewelry store, I have not relied on these preferences in their entirety. It doesn’t make sense to buy jewelry that only appeals to me and at times I’ve seen the reasoning behind a popular item. Some items I’ve picked simply because of their popularity and trendiness. Not everyone can afford to buy expensive pieces and even if they can everyone likes to be fashionable. This requires that inventory be on trend, something that Sears has neglected to observe. So I’ve tried to make my jewelry selection as diverse as possible keeping in mind popular fashion trends and what jewelry will compliment as well as please. After all, not all purchases need to be iconic.

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