Sears: The End of an Era for Big Department Stores?

You will no doubt have heard by now that Sears is struggling. The retail behemoth has regularly posted losses over the past few years and things are no better for its Canadian cousin. That became all too clear last month when Sears Canada announced that it would be closing 59 locations in this country and laying off 2900 employees.

This seems inconceivable to people of a certain age. Long before the days of Walmart and Costco dominance, Eaton’s and Sears were the places for your clothing and electronics needs. These stores were such mainstays in Canadian retail, it was not uncommon for someone to start their careers at one and stay there for many years.

However, the internet has changed many things in our lives and the world of retail certainly falls into that category. Sites like Amazon not only offer lower prices, due to their lack of physical locations, but they also deliver the convenience of never having to leave your home. About the only downside is having to wait longer to get your things, versus picking them up at a store, but Amazon’s forthcoming drone fleet may well reduce that to mere minutes.

Of course, stores still have some advantages. For those of us who like to browse, they offer much to hold our attention. I don’t always know what I want to buy people as gifts; surfing around on the net always takes me longer than simply walking around a mall. Also, when it comes to clothes, I like to try them on and immediately know how they look and whether they fit properly.

However, it would seem that convenience is the primary goal for people in this busy day and age. Sears is not officially dead yet, but it has reached the life support stage. I will be sorry to see it go.

Stu pendousmat at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

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