Why Sears Won’t Go “Bankrupt” in Mexico

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Sears Fund file bankruptcy protection in Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy law on Monday, October 15, 2018. Eddie Lampert, the 125-year-old CEO of the company, will step down but will retain his role as chairman. Sears should have paid $ 134 million in debt this week, but did not have enough capital to cover it, which led to file bankruptcy. In a statement, the company said profitable stores will remain open and the Sears and Kmart websites will remain online.

Eduardo Munoz Allvarez | Corbis | Getty Images

At the time of the bankruptcy filing, some 700 Sears stores were still open in the United States. The brand employed 68,000 people, but it was declining during the year 2018 (the company had 1,000 stores with 89,000 workers in February).

This week, the chain announced the closure of its last store in Illinois, its home state.

The store, located in the Woodfield Mall, is expected to close on November 14, as part of a business plan to “remodel and revitalize the property,” reports the Messenger of the day .

A spokesperson for Sears parent company Transformco said they will still manage the space and are currently negotiating with retailers to fill the now vacant property.

“This is part of the company’s strategy to unlock real estate value and seek the highest and best use for the benefit of the local community,” Transformco said in the announcement.

Crisis in Mexico? The name that avoids him: Carlos Slim

If the brand in the United States is on the verge of collapse, in Mexico the chain is very far from the crisis of its American sister because it has been under the control of Sanborns Group , Carlos slim company, for 20 years.

Sears first went international in 1947 when it opened its first store outside of the United States in Mexico City. Grupo Carso bought a 99% stake in Sears Mexico of Sears Roebuck (the US subsidiary) in 2016.

Since then, Sears Mexico has operated independently of the firm run by Eddie Lampert and the capital of Slim, Mexico’s richest man, and his group of companies have helped the Latin American retail giant out of the business. crisis.

The Expansion The site illustrates it this way: While Sears Roebuck has closed 70% of its stores in the United States in the past 10 years, Sears Mexico has grown from 40 to 95 stores in just two decades.

In addition, notes the Mexican business site, while Sears Roebuck has not posted a profit since 2010, Grupo Sanborns’ revenues have grown an average of 6% per year.

The store that changed the way we retail

Whatever happened to Sears in the United States with this bankruptcy filing, there’s no denying that this brand has shaped the way modern retail is done.

Here are 13 facts you might not know about Sears.

1. Although technically started under the Sears, Roebuck and Company brand in 1893 in Chicago, Illinois, Sears debuted in 1886 as the RW Sears Watch Company, with founder Richard W. Sears a former station attendant. who sold by mail order. watches in Minneapolis with watchmaker Alvah Roebuck.

2. Sears catalogs could have such a tremendous reach thanks in part to a US government program called Free rural delivery , which brought postal routes to rural areas of the country.

3. Sears hit the Wall Street Market in 1906, selling shares at $ 97.50 per share. In the current market, the opening price of the stock would be above $ 2,500.

4. Sears’ first physical store opened in Chicago in 1925 to take advantage of the boom in car use, allowing many rural and suburban customers to shop in metropolitan centers.

5. Initially, the store’s expansion was led by Robert E. Wood, who had served as a general in World War I.

6. From 1920 to 1943, Sears owned the Encyclopedia Britannica and sold these reference works in catalogs.

7. The iconic Sears Catalog had several names, first it was called “The Bargain Book”, then “The Great Price Maker”, and finally the “Wish Book”. Catalogs can sometimes contain up to 500 pages.

8. During the Great Depression, the emphasis on carrying practical and inexpensive items, such as towels and socks, kept the trader afloat during this time, and by the end of the crisis, the number Sears stores had doubled.

9. By the 1950s, Sears stores exceeded 700 locations and the company went international, opening a branch first in Mexico in 1947 and then in Canada in 1952.

10. Sears did not sell all through catalogs, but had a wide variety of brochures like real prefabricated houses .

11. The Sears Tower, opened in 1973 and renamed Willis Tower in 2009, was the tallest building in the world until 1998.

12. In the 1980s, in partnership with IBM, Sears created Prodigy , one of the first home internet platforms.

13. There are a number of brands that started out as Sears branches, including AllState Insurance , Kenmore, craftsman, Discover the menu , after the company bought Coldwell Banker and Dean Witter.

(With information from Nina Zipkin)

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