Two major retail chains are having big financial issues.
Both I find really, really poorly designed but for completely opposite reasons.
Sears is a hot mess.
I went there on Thursday after a wonderful lunch with @lannalee .. and there was literally coats in the middle of the aisle as I came in at the Maine Mall.
This is atrociously bad retail management.
Especially because Sears does much more business with hard goods like stoves, tools, car repair, refrigerators, vacuums, TVs, etc. then clothing.
If you really want people to spend there money with your “Blue Appliance” team and have tons of people work on commission make sure your buyers aren’t turning around and walking back into the mall before they even start.
There is a lot more money to be made on a deluxe $1,000 mattress or fancy TV or high end refrigerator or stove then on a $20 coat.
Sears has been run poorly by it’s management who has invested almost nothing on the stores forever. Bizarrely K-Mart actually bought Sears not the other way around. It’s time for the management of Sears Holdings to go back to selling land and get out of the retail business.
It frankly makes me sad to see one of the giants of American retailing fall so far. There was a time when Sears was the only game in town, and there wasn’t Wal-Mart, Target, Lowe’s and Home Depot down the street. That time is long gone. I hope Sears changes it’s tune quickly.
Even had a discussion on Twitter with @griffinclubmerv and others about whether Craftsman or Land’s End should be spun off completely from Sears. Only Sears can turn the LL Bean of the Midwest into more badly merchandised crap.
On the other side of the coin is Best Buy.
I understand that ITunes, Amazon .. has taken part of their business. But to me Best Buy is trying to turn one store into 8. And being bad at all of them.
Here’s the thing.
If people want to buy Apple products, they will usually just go to the Apple Store. The Apple Store is incredibly well merchandised, and was literally packed on this Thursday after Christmas at the mall.
If people want cell phones, they generally go to a provider store like the AT&T store, Verizon, Sprint, etc.
If people want videogames, they are more likely to go to GameStop and have a selection of new and used games.
And if they want CDs and DVDs, they are easy to purchase online. (Or unfortunately, illegally download)
By trying to make every section a store, it’s almost like there is no store at all.
I went to Best Buy, and if it wasn’t so loud, crowded and obnoxious I may have purchased a CD or DVD.
And in fact, I did purchase 2 CDs and 1 DVD the same day at Books-A-Million. BAM is not as good as Borders was, but it’s similar. Got an early Ray Charles CD, a Ramones live CD, and the movie “Rock N Roll High School” all for $5 each there, and a “Cute Overload” calendar for @lannalee.
Again, Best Buy, you are selling expensive TVs and computers, and you advertise your “Geek Squad.” Make you store simplier and make it so people with money and the desire to own nice things want to shop there. Teenagers really don’t have much more then spending money.
So there you are 2 retail companies that are doing poorly right now. Sears who is closing 100 stores (mainly K-Marts) remember that is one company, and Best Buy who may be headed the way of Circuit City soon.
And I gave an example of OK merchandising (but I bought stuff) at Books-A-Million.
And excellent merchandising (although I find it obnoxious and cultish) at the Apple Store.
And one last thing, I have no idea what the attraction is for going to the mall. It’s loud, crowded and crazy.