Black Friday for Sears a ‘ghost town’ as it fights for survival

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An empty Sears store in White Plains, New York, on Black Friday, November 23, 2018. 

Lauren Hirsch | CNBC

An empty Sears store in White Plains, New York, on Black Friday, November 23, 2018. 

He didn’t know that Sears had filed for bankruptcy. When told, he noted other retailers, like Home Depot have begun to offer lifetime warranties as well.

Home Depot isn’t the only retailer coming for Sears’ tool business. Lowe’s sells a broad array of tools, including Sears’ own Craftsman brand.

There’s also more competition for Sears’ prized appliance business, which touts the Kenmore brand. Once exclusive to Sears, the brand is now sold online by Amazon as well. In addition, both Home Depot and Lowe’s have made a bigger play for those sales, joined by J.C. Penney. Euromonitor estimates those sales will be worth as much as $38 billion by 2020.

Amazon had only just been founded when Jodi Sweed spent several Black Fridays working at Sears stores in Pittsburgh and Bethesda, Maryland, in her years after college in the 1990s, and later in its corporate office near Chicago.

“It was crazy, it was fun,” said Sweed. “You ran on adrenaline all day because you were there and you didn’t stop.”

Sweed was in charge of the Christmas store in one of her years at Sears. She still remembers the “sku,” a stock-keeping code, of the lone dud item she hadn’t sold out of by Dec. 26.

2018-11-23 19:47:00

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