The Fall of Sears and Roebuck
My first house was bought from the Sears catalog. I didn’t actually purchase it from Sears because I wasn’t even born yet but that’s besides the point. The original owner purchased it from Sears. Sears was Amazon before the internet. When I was a kid I remember the size of the Sears Catalog was huge. We didn’t have much money but I remember flipping through all the pages wishing I could buy toys and bee bee guns. When I was going through puberty that catalog came in real handy.
In my family Sears was a household name. Sears was affordable and their products were usually well built. My parents only bought Kenmore washer and dryers. That was the only brand considered. Sears catered to people that was interested in finding a good value. Practical people shopped at Sears.
Photo: Taken in Colorado by Tony French
Personally, I think the downfall began in the 80’s when Sears wasn’t cool anymore. Stores like the Gap strange up in the malls across America and with cool advertising campaigns. Sears wasn’t cool and probably should have fired their advertising company. Then in the 1990’s Walmart overtook Sears to become the nations largest retail store chain. Sears never embraced change, from labor issues to civil rights issues to gender inequality they were always late the party. Some analyst blame Amazon, the interest and bad management for the decline of Sears. Actually, there are many reasons, over many years for their failure. Crummy advertising and no innovation finally took them down.
In October 2018 Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
I feel sad for the fall of an iconic 20th century American brand. I will always be somehow connected through my first house and that I was married on the 100th floor of the Sears Tower in Chicago. I will always call it the Sears Tower.
To the one-time world’s tallest building and America’s biggest retailers, I say farewell.