An empty Sears store.
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.
Stepping inside, shoppers are greeted by a massive sale sign and ushered into the Lands’ End clothing department.
The first display near the entrance is impressively neat, tidy, and colorful.
But just a few more steps into the store, things start to deteriorate.
Clothing is haphazardly strewn on racks.
Clearance signs are displayed everywhere, highlighting the company’s difficulty clearing inventory.
Nowhere is this more apparent than a rack in which the store is trying to get rid of Christmas slippers in June.
The handbag department is in disarray.
Purses are piled on display tables.
And stuffed into wire baskets.
This department is the most depressing one that I encountered.
Many of the walls throughout the store are dirty and bare.
Or in this case, damaged.
Abandoned ladders, stepping stools, and folding tables, such as this one, also appear throughout the store.
Torn packages are another recurring theme.
As are piles of unsorted merchandise.
Signs are peeling from the displays.
The home-appliances department, which is on the bottom floor, is the tidiest part of the store.
But there’s not a single customer anywhere to be found.
The floor is silent aside from some soft music playing over the loudspeakers.
Even though this is the best-merchandised floor of the store, there are still empty shelves everywhere.
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.
The lingerie department features a forgotten ladder.
Along with opened packaged of undergarments.
The men’s boxers are in a tangled mess.
A Fruit of the Loom display sags crookedly to one side.
And there’s more empty shelf space.
All the rugs are missing from these racks.
The optical department is permanently closed.
I was shocked to find so much unused space on the third floor.
I also found some stained carpets.
And a lonely bed that looks as if it has lost its home.
I found more opened packages.
And a cart of jumbled merchandise.
There’s a “find-it” center where customers can browse Sears’ website.
And another empty register.
Crumpled paper covers the walls.
And there’s an oddly placed furniture department with no signage or wall decor.
A bag for sale lays on the ground.
The accessories department also needs some tidying.
Based on this visit, it’s hard to believe this particular Sears store will stay open much longer.