Sears is permanently closing the spin-off chain Sears Hometown, signaling a further downturn for what was once one of America’s biggest retailers.
Amid its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Sears is shutting down all 115 of its remaining Hometown locations, Footwear News reported.
The outlet had shuttered 600 other locations in only a few years in an effort to cut costs.
Clearly, it was not enough.
Sears Hometown focused on appliances, tools and outdoor equipment in locations that maintained only about 10,000 square feet, a fraction of the average 160,000 square feet of a regular Sears location, CNN Business reported.
Hometown was taken over by Transformco in 2019 after Sears’ last bankruptcy, and industry insiders had initially given the spin-off high prospects for survival since it focused on a tighter inventory. But the chain was not able to live up to expectations.
“Instead, it has followed the similar pattern of continual decline that has been the hallmark of Sears, with hundreds of stores closing earlier this year,” said Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, according to CNN.
“The benefits of having access to unique merchandise via exclusive products has also been lost as the various brands Sears once owned have been sold off and are now distributed more widely across retail.”
Sears Hometown will begin liquidating soon. The Hometown website says that “every item in every store” is for sale and “all locations are selling off to the bare walls.”
Sadly, Sears has been struggling to survive for years. In 2018, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after failing to balance its holdings. It closed 142 stores upon the announcement of the bankruptcy filing at the time.
Sears had tried closing another 100 stores earlier in 2018 to staunch the bleeding, but it just wasn’t enough.
Sears is not alone. Kmart, also at one time one of America’s biggest department store chains, may be on its last legs, having closed several hundred locations over the last few years.
Bookseller Barnes & Noble also recently closed locations in an effort to stay afloat. The chain also sold out to a hedge fund to try to get ahead of market woes.
Not all retailers have been suffering, though. The country’s largest, Walmart, is still thriving.
While it is sad to see long-standing chains such as Sears (founded in 1893) and KMart (founded in 1899) fading from the scene, it is the natural way of capitalism.
With its “creative destruction” aimed at serving the marketplace, capitalism is a dynamic and changing force. Some businesses will fail when they no longer serve their customers, but others will rise to replace them.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.