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Sears Reports Bigger-Than-Expected 1Q Loss

(AP) — Sears Holdings Corp. reported a steeper-than-expected loss for its first quarter with the beleaguered retailer blaming a cooler spring for falling sales.

Posting six straight years of declining sales, it looks like the once retail giant might be on the way out.  It’s interesting that Sears, Roebuck and Co. was officially formed in 1893. The company dates its history back to 1886 when Richard W. Sears, a railroad agent in Minnesota, received a box of errant watches and then sold them to other agents.

Sears innovative catalog showed what was for sale and the actual prices, something that was unheard of back in 1888. In 1933 the Sears catalog became known as the “Consumer’s Bible”.  I remember as a kid spending hours with the Sears & Roebuck catalog marking and dreaming of all the stuff I wanted, albeit much later than 1933.

It’s a shame to see an American icon close its doors but it’s likely to happen.  Sears has just been unable to compete with other retail giants like Target and Walmart.  I personally hate these big retail “super stores” not to mention the high volume big box membership stores.  These giant retail outlets have destroyed the Mom and Pop small local shops and we all have helped.

We might all be “morally” opposed to these giants but our spending habits prove differently.  …and honestly, it just makes economic sense.  I hate to admit it, but we only think of ourselves.  By spending our hard earned money at these super stores, we are in essence, placing our vote for them to stay and prosper.

There might be some hope.  According to an Entrepreneur.com article “After getting crushed by big-box stores during the 1980s and 1990s, mom-and-pop shops are enjoying something of a rebirth among U.S. consumers.”

What seems to make the neighborhood stores successful is the use of the internet and online sales.  No longer is the corner cupcake shop dependent on locals and the occasional tourist to keep them afloat.  “Being online gives shops the opportunity to reach the world rather than just the tourist trade and local shoppers,” says Marshal Cohen, a retail analyst at the Port Washington, N.Y., market researcher NPD Group.

Just like what made the local shop so appealing, the personal attention and relationships that were built, could be the demise of the big box stores.  Like Entrepreneur.com said, “while the days of being able to walk to the local butcher shop for your meat, the produce guy for veggies and the bakery for a loaf of rye may be over forever, that relationship — along with the kind of customized service prized by smaller shops — is still available today.”  And that can be found with the stores online presence.

So, just like we used our money to place our vote for the big chain stores, maybe we can do the same thing and start using our “money vote” to support some Mom and Pop stores by making purchase from them online.  There are bargains to be found by shopping online and many of these online, mom and pop shops are just the place to find them.

Here’s to hoping that the local mom and pop business will make a strong come-back and with the help of the internet, once again line our main streets.

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