By Alex Lloyd Gross
Citing “terrible”sales records for this holiday season, Sears and K mart will be closing over 100 stores across the nation. Local markets could be affected. K Mart has watched their customers get wooed away by Wal- Mart and Target. Locally, K Mart and Sears stores seemed to be busy during the holiday season.
Sears and Kmart became one company several years ago, hoping to jump start sales for both retailers who were stuggling . When 500 people come into a store it seems like the store is busy. If 499 walk out and one person buys a $ 9.99 item it’s terrible. During the holiday season lines were long at most of the area K Mart and Sears stores in the region.
Reports of stores not looking appealing are a waste of newsprint. The demographics of people that shop at Sears and K Mart are middle class hard working folks. They are not impressed with fancy displays and elaborate lighting. When a contractor comes in for a drill, they want a drill for say $29.99. They don’t want to pay $32.99 with the couple of dollars going towards making the atmosphere of the store more appealing. When shopping for a pair of pants a tiled floor with harsh lighting reflected off it is not affecting the customer. They want to pay the lowest price for the pants as possible.
The same argument can be said for large ticket items. If there is a 36 inch TV selling in a well decorated store with ambient lighting priced at $599.00 and the same product selling for $499.00 in a bare bones store can you guess where most people will do their shopping?
The Philadelphia area can not afford to lose anymore jobs. The last K mart that went out of business in the Philadelphia area was on the 11800 block of Bustleton Ave. in 2005 Many people were out of work and the only people that were happy were the liquidators. If any Sears or K Mart stores get closed, people will not get any good bargains. The television that lists at $899.00 but sells everyday for $699.00 will be sold at 10 percent off of $899.00. When time ticks by to the closing date the price drops to 20 percent off. By the time it’s 50 percent off or more, all of the fools will have purchased theirs, thinking they got a great bargain. Oh There are no returns on a liquidation either.
Now let’s talk about the jobs. Other stores have their staff. It will be a while before someone moves on. That is for entry level. Forget about a managers position in a retail store. Some workers are hoping that, it would behove everyone towork together. From the number crunchers at Sears who might want to sharpen their pencils and come in with more workable numbers to the landlords that own the property, when it comes to renegotiating a lease. One might think theowner would to get $8.00 per square foot ,( for example) as opposed to sticking to their guns hoping for $10.00. When the tennant cannot afford it, they vacate and the property sits there, vacant. The landlord makes no money and the property value goes down.
No one wants to read they are losing their jobs. Closing stores might be a fantastic way for stores to improve the bottom line and look attractive to stockholders. It’s also a very unattractive way to give upon a community. Sears will no longer “prop up”stores that only do marginally well. Keeping the store there keeps the brand in public view, shows the community the company did not give up on them. It also gives employment to the very community it serves.