Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Retail Archaeology thinks 'The End Is Near' for Sears and Kmart, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse

It's been exactly two weeks since I last wrote about the Retail Apocalypse in Company Man asks 'The Decline of FYE...What Happened?' A tale of the Retail Apocalypse but it's been nearly a full year since I last mentioned Sears in CDC offering zombie apocalypse tips updates 'Zombie Apocalypse Index for Day of the (Walking) Dead,' the top post of the tenth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News for Throwback Thursday, and that was merely in passing and even longer since I mentioned Kmart in Today and WXYZ examine Small Business Saturday during the pandemic. It's been even longer, almost two years, since I posted any substantial news about both chains in Many stores closing for good even as economy reopens, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and COVID-19 pandemic, when I reported "Sears is closing 51 stores and Kmart 45 stores." It's about time I checked in on the chains.

The outlook is not good. In fact, Erik of Retail Archaeology thinks that for Sears & Kmart In 2022: The End Is Near.

In this episode of Retail Archaeology we take a look at how Sears and Kmart are doing in 2022.
As a commenter on the video observed, "The opening shot with the crow perched atop the Sears sign cawing was a perfect visual metaphor!" I responded "I agree. It would only have been improved if it had been a raven, which would have set up a joke: 'Will there be Sears and Kmart after next year? Quoth the raven, nevermore!'"

On a more serious note, seeing Erik's list of surviving Sears stores astounded me. There are only 25 of them. Look at the screenshot and count for yourself.

I found that there are only four Kmarts still around even more astonishing. Worse, there will be only three after next month. Lo, how the once mighty have fallen!

Seeing this reminds me of a meme I first used in Sears and KMart open on Thanksgiving, plus Sears warranties during bankruptcy, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and repeated in Sears Holdings still 'not dead yet' as deadline extended for rescue offer. Watch the 5th Avenue Theatre's clip of Not Dead Yet.

The cast of Spamalot performs "Not Dead Yet" at The 5th Avenue Theatre.
Even though it's been four years since I first wrote it, I'm still sticking with my reaction from 2018: "No, but it probably won't be long."

That's it for the Retail Apocalypse for today. Stay tuned for statistics for (Throwback) Thursday tomorrow.


  1. Kmart in Manhattan reduced one location by half and then closed both. A big loss for lower income and bargain shoppers and general convenience. No similar stores.

    1. There was another discount chain that was specific to NYC and closed stores, but I don't recall it. When I looked up discount chains there, I got Lot Less, but I don't think that's it. As for national big box chains, the only one that I found on Manhattan was Target, which is up a level from KMart and Walmart. There is a reason why its customers pronounce its name as tar-zhay.

  2. Sears was the analog Amazon. If they had just put their catalog on line they could have... oh well.

    1. To this day I find it gobsmacking that Sears didn't embrace the internet. Mail order was the thing that built the company into the global giant they were, once upon a time.

      It was literally a no-brainer.

    2. Yes, Buzzcook, not keeping the Sears catalog and making it digital and a way to order online was an obvious missed opportunity.

      Bruce.desertrat, you and me, too.