This Customer Who Shopped At Sears For 50 Years Perfectly Illustrates The Brand's Epic Decline


Photo: By daysofthundr46 on Flickr

It’s no secret that Sears is having problems. The department store is mired in a four-year sales slump and is closing stores by the dozens.While it’s dealing with the rise of e-commerce like every other brick-and-mortar retailer, there’s one other thing that’s keeping it pinned down.

It’s decrepit.

A recent story by Shan Li at the L.A. Times features one great anecdote about a 78-year-old former truck driver.

He perfectly illustrates Sears’ problem. Even he doesn’t want to shop there anymore.

Keep in mind, this man was a loyal Sears customer for half a century. From the L.A. Times: 

“Frank Thode bought his first refrigerator from Sears in Santa Monica as a young newlywed. That was back in 1957.

“For nearly five decades, he stopped at the department store almost once a week, picking up tools or clothes or appliances. But in recent years, he has hardly ever gone by the distinctive green-and-white Modern-style store on Colorado Avenue near the Santa Monica Pier still bearing its original Sears neon sign.

“‘It basically looks like the same store from way back when with newer clothes and appliances,’ said the 78-year-old retired truck driver, surveying the store on a rare visit to inspect washers and dryers. ‘They haven’t done a lot to update it. I’d rather shop at other stores now.'”

Here’s the thing. Thode’s attitude toward Sears isn’t only about the physical appearance for the stores. People perceive the entire Sears brand as, well, old and outdated. Now, Sears is investing in aesthetics to try to turn things around, according to the L.A. Times.

Great, but will it end up being too little too late?

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