To: The board of directors of Sears Holding Corporation
Re: Store Closures
This letter to Sears was directed to the board of directors of the Sears Holding Corporation – two years before it went into bankruptcy.
Good day, and thank you for this opportunity to address the board,
My name is Will, and I’ve been a customer of Sears for my entire life (over six decades). It was with great sadness that I’ve watched the slow erosion of locations and morale of Sears across North America, and it is with even greater sadness that I heard the announcement of store closures. I know you feel there’s very valid reasons for the corporation’s decline, but it’s time you folks realize and face the fact that the decline isn’t due to circumstances outside of your boardroom, it’s due to circumstances in it.
I’ve taken time to write, because I truly believe Sears can become enormously profitable once again, and I’m not willing to sit back doing nothing as it unravels at the seams, even if all I can do is write to you. I firmly believe that Sears can be as powerful and profitable today, as it was 120 years ago, but it desperately needs an executive tune up.
Now, I have no degrees, in fact I have a rather dull and unimpressive resume. But what I do have, is a viable vision for turning Sear’s fortunes around, and the plan to make it happen. My plan’s simple. It is to reintegrate Sears into the community, and reintegrate the community to Sears. That requires the corporation going back to its roots, where instead of focusing on profiting from the success of the nation, Sears was instrumental in helping the nation to achieve success.
I understand the business tactics currently being employed by Sears executives, but they are honestly counterproductive, evidenced best I believe on your spreadsheets. By shifting away from being a corporate giant trying stuff a nation into one size fits all, Sears has the exciting opportunity to evolve to become an exciting and profitable community member once again, and to help the nation to profit too.
However, my plan requires a significant shift in retail mindsets, especially in the acquisition and distribution of merchandise. Instead of carrying primarily mass produced goods manufactured in other countries around the globe, and competing against the likes of Walmart, I suggest that Sears buy locally, especially fashion.
Instead of trying to be the store that is all things to all people, Sears needs to become the store with unique items found nowhere else in the world, items that tie the corporation to the community. And, it has been proven time and again that when communities are directly linked to companies, there are significant reductions in crimes against said companies.
I believe it is still important to offer mass produced items from a central clearing house by catalogue, but stores need to transform into supercentres where departments are subcontracted to local business, turning floor space into a mall, often within a mall. Let those who sell appliances, sell appliances in Sears. Let those who sell electronics, sell electronics in Sears. Leasing the space slashes corporate overhead, resolves many employment concerns, and draws more of the community through the doors.
Let independent business transition barren departments to vibrant, exciting and profitable centers. Allowing locations more autonomy to offer lines of local goods alongside name brands, without tying up Sear’s capital, is a win-win for everyone. It nurtures local business and community development, while facilitating corporate fiscal growth. In essence, I propose the introduction of leased departments, licensing all space to relevant services and products.
Transition away from carrying any Sears ‘brands’ (such as Craftsman). Focus on lines of locally sourced superb quality items at affordable prices. Instead of purchasing stock to fill shelves, and then raising prices to make a profit, lease shelf space to the products for a fee, which provides profit even without sales. The bottom line is that Sears needs to transition away from simply selling goods to the public, and return to helping people live.
That’s the Sears that I know and love, and the Sears I want to continue to love. Again, I’m just a hick from the sticks, but I’m a customer willing to fight for the things that I love. Thank you for letting me share my uneducated thoughts. I pray they inspire and guide you to much better decisions.