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Should Shoppers Cheer Sears Woes?

Growing financial woes at Sears could translate into bigger discounts for consumers.

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The struggling retail giant reported a $2.4 billion loss today, and its revenue declined for the fifth consecutive quarter. The company also announced several initiatives to get itself back on track, including spinning off roughly 1,250 stores and laying off staff. The news follows Sears’ announcement in December that it would shut down approximately 120 Sears and Kmart locations. But as the retailer’s financial woes worsen, analysts say consumers could benefit. “They’re going to really start cutting prices in an effort to get sales up,” says Jeff Green, an independent retail analyst in Phoenix, Ariz.

Sears did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

For shoppers, the deals have already been piling up. Over the past six to nine months, Sears began offering more coupons and deals to try to get shoppers to return to the store and to spend more money, says Paul Swinand, equity analyst who covers Sears at Morningstar. Online marketing is intensifying also, he says: Customers who buy home items, for instance, are receiving emails for deals on other related home products as well.

One area likely to see more deals soon, says Swinland, is clothing. Aside from its lackluster sales, the company, like most other retailers, had a difficult time unloading winter apparel given the milder than usual weather. Expect 30% to 40% discounts at the stores that will remain open, says Brian Sozzi, a retail analyst, with discounts on apparel reaching 50% off.

Consumers can find even bigger discounts at the Sears stores that are closing. As we reported in December prices are expected to be slashed by up to 70%, according to Sozzi’s estimates. Of course, as with most store closings, those sales will likely be final.

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    • It’s disappointing to hear about Sear’s misfortune. We love Sear’s, I have always gone to them to shop for my husband. I disagree about the name, it does stand for good product and service. I’ve had bad salesmen (yes MEN) at other stores not at Sear’s. I have a disability it’s great to know I can go to Sear’s and get great help with no attitude’s. Since I’m starting out in our new business, it would be helpful to me to find the lower prices I need for a great product, one I know will last! Love Sear’s!! We also shopped Sear’s because of Extreme Home Makeover (our hats off for all the donations). The ONE show OUR WHOLE FAMILY watched TOGETHER, every week. Also my Dad a WWII Vet shop’d Sear’s. I hope Sear’s pulls out we need them. Thanks for your Great Service.

    • Ironically, my wife tried to buy a suite of Kenmore major appliances at a Sears store on Tuesday. Good products, good salesmanship. Part of the deal was a 5% discount for buying on a Sears card, which we had to acquire. Salesman put her on the phone with a credit guy, who asked her about her income. “You mean my income, or the household income?” He only wanted her income, didn’t care about household income. (We both make six figures, me significantly more than her. Great credit rating.) He would only authorize credit for a little more than half the purchase. She was incredulous. She walked. Different appliances were bought elsewhere.

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