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According to Engadget (This article and its images were originally posted on Engadget October 15, 2018 at 05:24AM.)
(cover Image) Bloomberg via Getty Images
Sears, which invented the strategy of selling everything anyone with a mailing address long before Amazon, has been mortally wounded by its spiritual successor. After nearly a decade of struggle, the US retailer announced that it has filed for bankruptcy. It entered voluntary Chapter 11 proceedings and plans to close as many as 150 stores in an effort to slash debt and make it through the holidays. Since 2013, Sears has shuttered over 1,000 stores and lost around $5.8 billion.
Sears is perhaps best known for distributing catalogs and selling products across America using the US Postal Service. Founded in 1892, it was a US retail juggernaut until the 1990s, when it started facing stiff competition from Walmart, Target and other more agile competitors. In 2004, the company was acquired by hedge fund manager Edward Lampert and merged with K-Mart.
Under Lampert, the company saw a $1.5 billion profit in 2015, but it’s been downhill ever since. While losing the retail battle with Walmart, Home Depot and others, it was flanked on another side by Amazon’s rapidly growing e-commerce business. The great recession of 2008 set off a sharp decline that never really stopped, described by one bankruptcy expert as “the slowest-moving train wreck.”
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