I grew up in Sears. I loved Sears.
But since a hedge fund manager has taken control of Sears and merged it with K-Mart, the old Sears is long gone, never to return.
The current management of Sears cares only about profitability, even at the expense of losing sales revenue (which is what kept Sears so strong for so many years), and at the expense of the customer.
Gone forever are the days of "Satisfaction Guaranteed or Your Money Back." Sears used to be unique in that it was the customer that determined when they were satisfied. Now Sears has some increasingly rigid guidelines and has decided that they're the ones that determine when the customer is satisfied.
Sears' leadership is taking much the same approach with their employees, choosing to manage them like they do any other asset. Long service doesn't mean anything; loyalty doesn't mean anything; experience is worthless. The less you earn, the more valuable you are, at Sears. Pension plans and 401K contributions are down (if not eliminated altogether), and the cost of insurance and other benefits are up as more and more financial burden is taken off of the company and placed on the employees.
I left the company of my own will after over 15 years of service from sales to sales management to corporate management. I left because the company doesn't care about the customer, it doesn't care about the employees, and it doesn't even care about retailing. The leader of the company cares only about comparing himself to famed hedge fund manager Warren Buffett.
Congratulations to him! He's been wildly successful -- successful enough to loot and destroy one of America's great institutions -- but he'll never be a Warren Buffet. He'll never even be a good retailer.
That's too bad. Sears was worth saving.
Now, the latest moves to split the company into separate business units only give the hedge fund manager more power to liquidate (or, in hedge fund manager speak, "unlock the value of") real estate as locations, brands, and other assets are slowly sold off.
Goodbye Sears. We hardly knew ye.
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