Archive for Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No information available yet about fate of Lawrence Sears store

December 27, 2011


On Tuesday, Sears Holdings Corp. announced it would close 100 to 120 Sears and Kmart stores nationwide. The news came after a slow holiday season.

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The company hasn’t said which stores are slated for closure, and a woman who answered the phone at the Lawrence Sears store wouldn’t comment on whether it was one of them.

Lawrence does not have a Kmart store.

When a final determination is made, the list of affected stores will be posted at

While much of the retail industry anticipated a boost in sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Sears Holdings Corp. saw a decline in consumer electronics, apparel and layaway sales at Kmart stores and a drop in consumer electronics and home appliances sales in Sears stores.

“Given our performance and difficult economic environment, especially for big-ticket items, we intend to implement a series of actions to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” CEO Lou D’Ambrosio said in a press release issued Tuesday.

According to The Associated Press, the closings are the latest and most visible in a long series of moves to try to fix a company that has struggled with falling sales and shabby stores as rivals like Walmart and Target spruced up their looks and turned into one-stop shopping sources.

“There’s no reason to go to Sears,” New York-based independent retail analyst Brian Sozzi told the AP. “It offers a depressing shopping experience and uncompetitive prices.”

In 1998, the first full-size Sears department store opened in Lawrence at 2727 Iowa. Six years later it underwent a $405,000 remodel.

In the past, Sears said it had been its practice to keep marginally performing stores open as the company worked to improve them.

“We no longer believe that to be the appropriate action in this environment,” the press release noted.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


John Spencer 5 years, 1 month ago

I would be surprised if it was not closed. Whenever I go in, there are more people working, than buying!

StirrrThePot 5 years, 1 month ago

I like shopping there, but like most folks I go to Target and Kohls more often. I never see many people there, I am surprised it has lasted this long.

akt2 5 years, 1 month ago

And then the ones like me who are buying, are purchasing appliances, TV's and riding mowers. We have bought a gas range, dishwasher and big screen there within the past year or so. I personally like the sales people in those departments and I like Kenmore. I guess I better go ahead and get the fridge now just in case. You can't really base the ratio of shoppers to employees there because you never know for sure what is being bought. A shopper can seemingly be buying nothing when in reality they have made the transaction, walked out the door empty handed and have just spent a couple grand. Yet it appears as if they have bought nothing.

MYOB 5 years, 1 month ago

"Kenmore" doesn't really manufacture anything. That's just the name that Sears puts on it to make you think they produced it. All Kenmore products are made by company names you would recognize, like Whirlpool, GE, etc.

kef104 5 years, 1 month ago

True, but to be fair, they are manufactured to Sear's specifications. This usually means extra or enhanced features. For example, Kenmore dryers often have stainless steel drums when the Frigidaire version does not. So at a similar price point, Kenmore becomes a more viable choice.

brutus 5 years, 1 month ago

Any sale they have the prices are the same. 4th of July sale, Labor day sale, anything, the sale prices of the same items never gets any lower. It may be lower than reg. price but any sale the price is set.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 1 month ago

Ever since Sears started buying some Craftsman tools from China, I've not had much use for them.

Scott Morgan 5 years, 1 month ago

We are becoming Bonner Springs. Trrrrrrrruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuusttttt me having a Sears in town is a big asset. It is a destination spot. Credit card, online return center, Sears service, appliances, Craftsman, whoa boy time to roll up the sidewalks after 9:00 if this goes down.

LogicMan 5 years, 1 month ago

If you too want to try to keep the store open, go there and buy stuff you need before the end of the year. They'll likely be judging the stores on their total annual sales, so there's still a few days to bump up our store's numbers. In stock, big ticket items like appliances, garden equipment, and tools would be best to buy now.

But if it does do go away, who owns that building? It was still owned by Walmart when that discount clothing store was in there for a while.

If either still owned by Walmart, or reacquired, it would make for a decent small-market Sam's Club.

Also ask Sears to reopen a appliance/tool/catalog store like they had before. Who had that franchise?

PennyBrite 5 years, 1 month ago

since they stopped carrying lands end clothes in the Lawrence store, I rarely go there.

beaujackson 5 years, 1 month ago

Sears "lost" a lot of customers when they closed their appliance store at 9th &n Iowa years ago.

I have been ignored by Sears salesmen in the tool dept. on several occasions, and have switched to Westlake when possible.

Retail business is tough, and Sears lacks "imagination".

Keith 5 years, 1 month ago

I think we're all indebted to its_just_math for clearly stating what needed to be said. I'm particularly glad that these lovely children were here today to hear that speech. Not only was it authentic frontier gibberish, it expressed a courage little seen in this day and age.

down_the_river 5 years, 1 month ago

Can I get a harumph out of you? Gentlemen, we have to protect our phony baloney jobs!

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

Perhaps K-Mart should not have been allowed to acquire Sears. Probably paid too much.

There are two big names attached to Sears. Kenmore and Craftsman

Craftsman tools reached out to other retailers/hardware stores which are now selling Craftsman tools. Westlake Hardware is selling Craftsman tools.

Kenmore is made by a variety of names.

It seems that the Reagan/Bush days of all types of takeovers/mergers/etc etc is going to the grave. All of that reckless financing is coming home to roost. The result was too much debt,millions of USA workers out of jobs and mucho outsourcing was underway.

"The Wall Street bankers boom town economics building frenzy produced a bumper crop of new retail space. But neither the occupants nor imaginary shoppers have materialized .

Over built retail in a small town cannot withstand flooded markets in slow economic times. Bad planning.

Empty retail space = raises taxes on local property owners.

onceinawhile 5 years, 1 month ago

Some perspective would add to this story.

There are about 3,560 Sears and K-Mart stores in the country. That means less than 4 percent of Sears and K-Mart stores in the U.S. will close.

jesse499 5 years, 1 month ago

It's better then Made in China Walmart.But it's more likely the Citi bank Sears Card that screws everyone they can that is the problem more than Sears or Kmart.Anything Citi Bank has anything to do with is S---.

Scott Morgan 5 years, 1 month ago

Learn me somebody, what's the difference in Target and Walmart?

Personally, I do not like Target, just the store layout, nothing personal.

Why not the hate on Target? Product lines look the same to me, in fact the bedding looks cheaper at Target.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

America is Over Stored

America Is Over Stored ( Do Lawrence,Kansas planners,Chamber of Commerce and city government not realize this?)

The Wall Street bankers boom town economics building frenzy produced a bumper crop of new retail space. But the occupants haven't materialized.

The carnage in retail hasn't been this bad since an anarchist bombed Chicago's Haymarket Square in 1886. In January, Liz Claiborne said it would shutter 54 Sigrid Olsen stores by mid-2008; Ann Taylor announced that 117 of its 921 stores would be closed over the next three years, and Talbots axed the Talbots Men's and Talbots Kids concepts and 22 Talbots stores. Even Starbucks has scaled back its yearlong saturation-bombing campaign.

But back out inflation and sales of gasoline, and retail sales fell in real terms in the past year. Clearly, demand is down.

And supply is up. This decade's building frenzy produced a bumper crop of new retail space—from McStrip malls built near new McMansions, to hip new boutiques in the ground floors of hip new Miami condo buildings. But as is the case with those McMansions and condos, the occupants for new retail space haven't materialized.

In the fourth quarter of 2007, the national retail-vacancy rate rose for the 11th straight quarter to 7.5 percent—the highest level since 1996, according to research firm Reis, Inc.

With new projects coming online—34 million square feet of retail space will be completed in 2008—the rate is expected to spike further to 8 percent. In the parlance of the trade, many chains are simply over-stored.


purplesage 5 years, 1 month ago

Well, let's see. A refrigerator, a lawn mower, a lawn tractor, a snow blower and a bunch of Craftsman tools. I think I've done my part.

K-Mart lost its way 20 or 30 years ago and acquired Sears (how does a bankrupt company buy Sears ?). Then with a huge distribution center in town, Lawerence loses its K-Mart store. I liked the guys in the pharmacy there and that caused me to shop there some.

But, having just purchased some light bulbs at Target, I went into K-Mart during the store-closing clearance. There were the light bulbs I had just bought at 25% off. And they were STILL higher than Target.

Remember that bogus Made int he USA campaign in Wal-Mart ads? I don't think they have any pretense of that anymore.

A "small-market Sam's Club" - seriously, that store is only about 25% of the floor space for a warehouse club.

On the plus, the Kresge family has been very generous to my alma mater over the years and supports, through their foundation, good and worth causes. K-Mart took a lot of negative flak over the Walden Books stuff years ago. Sorry to say, but I think K-Mart is on the way out and is probably taking Sears down with it.

LogicMan 5 years, 1 month ago

Wikipedia says Sam's Clubs are typically 70 to 133 thousand square feet. I found here that our current Sears is 60+. So it wouldn't take much to have a small Sam's Club. They likely wouldn't have an auto service center or gas station, for example. If Walmart's properties division still owns the building, it would be an easy conversion.

LogicMan 5 years, 1 month ago

From the DC real estate tax site, the owner is "SINAY LAWRENCE KANSAS LLC" (Incorporated in Delaware?).

John Hamm 5 years, 1 month ago

It'll close, imho. It's too small to carry enough of the Sears lines. Too bad.

Christine Anderson 5 years, 1 month ago

Prepare for going-out-of-business sale. Can't wait for the kids, women's clothing, and jewelry!

Steve Jacob 5 years, 1 month ago

I hope the distribution place is OK. That would be a much bigger loss, full time job wise.

akt2 5 years, 1 month ago

They could get rid of the soft goods. Say for instance the Kardashian Collection and crap like that. If you need to shop major purchase look for Rob. He is a great salesperson.

jlzack 5 years, 1 month ago

I seldom shop Sears anymore. Years ago I purchased a Lady Kenmore dishwasher. ($600.00 for that piece of junk) Thinking I could get one that would last, and because their warranty would cover repairs 7 days a week, and evenings if required. When I actually had problems, they would only send a repairman out tuesday or thursday, between 2:00 & 4:00. After the darn thing quit for the 3rd time, I threw it out.... Never again would I purchase appliances from Sears. Factory Direct, Best Buy & Home Depot now get my electronic/appliance business.

labmonkey 5 years, 1 month ago

I used to go to SEARS beacuse they almost always had an American-made choice in whichever item I wanted to purchase. Now there is too much stuff made in China.

I have an idea for SEARS to make a comeback, but they would have to give it a chance... go back to Made in USA, and if it is made in China, do not put the Craftsman name on it. SEARS will never be able to compete on prices, so go ahead and compete with quality and domestic manufacturing. Then advertise the hell out of the quality and Made in USA angle... although they may not get your Wal-Mart bargain hunters, they should pick up people who care about creating jobs in this country and quality goods.

peartree 5 years, 1 month ago

While trying to find a gag gift (metallic undies like the ones in the LMFAO video), I ran across the Sears website a few weeks ago. When in the world did they start carrying personal massagers and a "Studded Male Power Bandit Thong?"

Come see the softer side of...wait. Never mind.

I figured they must be desperately trying to break into new markets, so I'm not surprised they are closing stores. It's too bad they bought Land's End; the quality of the kids' clothing has tanked in the past few years. That's why I don't shop at Old Navy anymore either. And, if I'm not crazy, Gap quality seems to be where Old Navy was 6 or 7 years ago.

CLARKKENT 5 years, 1 month ago


Clovis Sangrail 5 years, 1 month ago

I have not yet forgiven Sears for ruining Lands' End, nor will I ever. Lands' End has been plagued with ever decreasing quality since Sears took them over.

Therefore, I will not mourn the passing of Sears.

jesse499 5 years, 1 month ago

Wal-mart (MADE IN CHINA) is the one who forced 80 persent of our manufacturing jobs over seas and your mad at sears for one line of clothes.

Scott Morgan 5 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence Kansas 2015 Scene Ed's Mercantile Store 23rd St.

Hi Martha watcha looking for today, my my my the old Hybrid car is looking mighty poor?

Well...Yep Ed the old Honder is 8 year now...wish we had a Ferd Truck so we could head into a town and stock up.

...give me a bolt of gingham, couple feet of flannel, a handful of nails, a couple of cans of peaches, a pound of bacon, and one of them striped candy sticks.

lunacydetector 5 years, 1 month ago

the problem with sears is they are now owned and run by bean counters. historically, bean counters drive companies into the ground. just look at chrysler.

Scott Morgan 5 years, 1 month ago

Not a Sears person at all. But

There is no problem with Sears, as far as I can tell it's the only full appliance store with multi brands and service. This includes the Kenmore line. Service, delivery, and a return location for online purchases. Used to have a great audio visual dept.

The problem is people from a county of over 150K leave and shop elsewhere. Lawrence needs big stores badly.

average 5 years, 1 month ago

What county of 150,000 are you talking about?? Douglas is barely 110k as of the 2010 Census, and that includes 20k+ part-time dorm/frat/student-apt residents who buy exceedingly little all things considered. Wyandotte is barely over 150k residents.

That's the thing. We simply aren't that big a market. We totally overestimate it. Anyone more than 15 minutes from the towns borders is closer to a larger market, so we aren't going to 'draw' from some regional base like Columbia MO (which, btw, Boone County's population is larger than WY and almost the same as Shawnee County). We don't even get Ottawa traffic even with a 4-lane 59, since Olathe is just about as close.

Subtract from DG the number of people who live ultra-frugal (college kids, some of us older hippies) and partially subtract those who are in larger markets every day (commuters). Add their respective regional draws and honestly Hutchinson or Salina are roughly the equal of Lawrence in terms of market viability.

In general, though, retailing is a dead-end. It's a secondary economic activity. Between Zappos, an Amazon Prime membership, etc, I haven't even bought much at Target/WM for much this year. Groceries at the grocery, basic TP and dish soap from Dollar Gen., and pretty much everything else is online.

Scott Morgan 5 years, 1 month ago

My bad, only 110K in County. Do not agree with the ultra frugal though.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

The struggling corporate mash-up that Eddie Lampert built is finding short-term fixes that may end up hurting it, leaving one big question still unanswered: What is the endgame for Sears? By Kit R. Roane, contributor

FORTUNE -- In what seems an admission that the Sears shopping experience continues to have about as much appeal as getting a root canal, Sears Holding Corporation has moved to expand partnerships over the last few months that allow competitors to sell its most storied brands. Craftsman tools and DieHard batteries have already escaped the big-box retail behemoth, and it's probably only a matter of time before Kenmore makes a break for freedom as well.

The move is an ingenious elixir for near-term earnings, providing incremental cash flow to the struggling corporate mash-up that Eddie Lampert built, and is a delightful added discomfort to Sears' high-interest-paying shorts, who have watched the company's float vanish thanks to Lampert's aggressive stock buybacks. But critics worry that it could, in the end, just be digging the once omnipresent retailer a deeper grave.

"It will have a short-term benefit, but long-term it will be a disaster," predicts Howard Davidowitz, Chairman of Davidowitz & Associates, Inc., a national retail consulting and investment banking firm. "Sears is in total collapse -- earnings, sales, everything is tanking -- so they embark on this strategy with their brands that fundamentally goes against what every retailer in the United States is doing, what every retailer is trying to accomplish, which is to differentiate themselves from their competitors."


Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

Victim of the reckless hedge fund world...

There’s already evidence that Sears will be the surviving name even though Kmart is the acquiring company. The name of the merged company will be Sears Holdings Corp. And the company headquarters will be in Chicago – Sears’ home town.

Here’s the long and the short of it as we see it – the acquisition will work for the deal-makers in the short term. Lambert especially stands to make a lot of money by squeezing costs from the joint company. And yet more money by converting and selling stores. And yet more money by moving Kmart brands to Sears stores.

"But don’t count on the company prospering in the long term. For Lambert isn’t an operating guy. He’s not about to solve the systemic problem causing declining sales in both Kmart and Sears stores. He’s not about to do battle – let alone win the battle – with Wal-Mart. He’s not about to find a solution to shoppers’ confusion about the meaning of both brands – Kmart and Sears.

Over then next couple of years, let’s watch for four occurrences…

  1. Lambert and his ESL Hedge Fund will make a lot of money by squeezing costs and selling off real estate.
  2. Lambert will use Sears Holdings Corp to make leveraged acquisitions. 3 "Sears brand will become yet more confused.
  3. "The Kmart name will disappear.


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