We went to Sears and saw why the company is imploding

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An empty Sears store.
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Sears

Sears’ losses are mounting.

The company said Thursday that revenue fell 13% to $5 billion in the third quarter, with losses widening to $748 million from $454 million in the period last year.

Same-store sales dropped 7.4%, including a 10% decrease at Sears stores and a 4.4% decrease at Kmart stores.

The company said it would continue to accelerate store closings to help stop the bleeding.

According to analysts, the stores that remain open are shells of what they once were and that it’s only a matter of time before the retailer goes bankrupt.

We visited a Sears store in Richmond, Virginia, in June to see what is going wrong.


The parking lot of the department store, which is attached to a shopping mall, is nearly empty.

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Sears

Stepping inside, shoppers are greeted by a massive sale sign and ushered into the Lands’ End clothing department.

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Sears

The first display near the entrance is impressively neat, tidy, and colorful.

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Sears

But just a few more steps into the store, things start to deteriorate.

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Sears

Clothing is haphazardly strewn on racks.

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Sears

Clearance signs are displayed everywhere, highlighting the company’s difficulty clearing inventory.

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Sears

Nowhere is this more apparent than a rack in which the store is trying to get rid of Christmas slippers in June.

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Sears

The handbag department is in disarray.

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Sears

Purses are piled on display tables.

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Sears

And stuffed into wire baskets.

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Sears

It’s a mess.

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Sears

This department is the most depressing one that I encountered.

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Sears

Many of the walls throughout the store are dirty and bare.

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Sears

Or in this case, damaged.

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Sears

Abandoned ladders, stepping stools, and folding tables, such as this one, also appear throughout the store.

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Sears

Torn packages are another recurring theme.

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Sears

As are piles of unsorted merchandise.

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Sears

Signs are peeling from the displays.

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Sears

The home-appliances department, which is on the bottom floor, is the tidiest part of the store.

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Sears

But there’s not a single customer anywhere to be found.

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Sears

The floor is silent aside from some soft music playing over the loudspeakers.

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Sears

Even though this is the best-merchandised floor of the store, there are still empty shelves everywhere.

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Sears

This register looks as if it hasn’t been used in a while, which doesn’t surprise me — I saw only two employees during my 45 minutes inside the store.

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Sears

The lingerie department features a forgotten ladder.

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Along with opened packaged of undergarments.

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Sears

And untidy shelves.

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Sears

The men’s boxers are in a tangled mess.

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Sears

A Fruit of the Loom display sags crookedly to one side.

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And there’s more empty shelf space.

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Sears

All the rugs are missing from these racks.

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The optical department is permanently closed.

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I was shocked to find so much unused space on the third floor.

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Sears

I also found some stained carpets.

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Sears

And a lonely bed that looks as if it has lost its home.

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I found more opened packages.

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Sears

And a cart of jumbled merchandise.

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Sears

The curtains are a mess.

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Sears

There’s a “find-it” center where customers can browse Sears’ website.

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Sears

And another empty register.

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Crumpled paper covers the walls.

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Sears

And there’s an oddly placed furniture department with no signage or wall decor.

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Sears

A bag for sale lays on the ground.

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Sears

The accessories department also needs some tidying.

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Sears

Necklaces are tangled.

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Sears

Based on this visit, it’s hard to believe this particular Sears store will stay open much longer.

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Sears