(Reuters) – Sandy Hetrick drove 15 miles from her home to a Sears in Media, Pennsylvania on Wednesday to buy folding chairs and clothes.
Her local Sears in Wilmington, Delaware, the 54-year-old retiree said, was so poorly stocked that she stopped going there, even though there is no Delaware state sales tax.
Hetrick - Sears - Bankruptcy - Protection - Days
“It’s really going down,” Hetrick said about Sears, which is weighing whether to file for bankruptcy protection in the coming days.
“You can’t find any help. The stores have minimal items,” she said as she shopped at the store in Media.
Change - Sentiment - Shoppers - Hetrick - Retailer
A change in sentiment among previously loyal shoppers like Hetrick contributed to the retailer’s sharp decline in sales. Sears losses have continued to mount to over $11 billion from its last annual profit in 2011.
On Thursday, Reuters reported Sears CEO Eddie Lampert is exploring a bid for some of the retailer’s businesses and real estate once it files for bankruptcy.
Sears - Requests - Comment - September - Retailer
Sears did not respond to multiple requests for comment. In September, the retailer said it is cutting down on lower-performing products and becoming more aggressive in clearing out seasonal merchandise. It also expanded the assortment on its online marketplace, which allowed it to add more popular brands.
Sears also said it continues to take steps to improve its in-store experience for shoppers, without offering details.
Attempts - Products - Tires - Kenmore - Appliances
It has made attempts to sell its products like tires and Kenmore appliances on Amazon.com Inc’s website to offset the decline in traditional shoppers by acquiring new customers online.
Even so, its annual sales have dropped nearly 60 percent to $16.7 billion.
Retailer - Problems - Shoppers - Employees - Vendors
The retailer’s problems, according to shoppers, former employees and vendors interviewed by Reuters, range from its limited assortment of merchandise to poor customer service. In addition, some said, the retailer abandoned basic shop-keeping standards such as clean stores. And Lampert’s leadership over the years to save the chain hurt...
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The beatings will continue until moral improves.