OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Shoppers of a certain age will never forget flipping through the Sears catalogs at the holidays.
The final Sears location in the Kansas City metro is closing soon, and the number of active stores in the United States is a shadow of what it used to be.
The Sears Home and Life location on 119th Street at Lamar Avenue in Overland Park, Kansas has about a month to go before it will lock its doors for good.
An employee at the store told FOX4 workers have been told the store will call it a day in mid-June, but corporate leaders haven’t specified a date.
“This is terrible. I grew up with Sears,” Sharese Matthews, a customer, said. “They have all the latest electronics and home appliances with all the great technology. I feel like I’m going to have to travel further now to get what we need.”
There were at least five Sears locations in the Kansas City metro at one point. A large Sears store stood on the Country Club Plaza, and the former Metcalf South Mall store met the wrecking ball in 2019. The Overland Park store has everything marked down to sell quickly. Signs posted outside the store confirm the store’s fate.
At one point, Sears was the world’s largest retailer, boasting 3,500 stores. Published reports indicate only 16 stores remain, and the Overland Park store is one of five that will close this year. Only a handful of employees remain in the 119th Street store, which sits near Blue Valley North High School.
“They’re not keeping their eye on their competition,” Tony Tocco, a business professor at Rockhurst University’s Helzberg School of Management, said.
He said he’s been tracking Sears’ ups and downs since the 1980’s. Sears reached a zenith in the 80’s, and was more powerful than Wal-Mart and Amazon are today, according to Tocco.
Tocco believes Sears leaders failed to keep up with their competition, and the company was foolish not to concentrate on online sales, clinging instead to antiquated catalog sales and brick and mortar stores.
“They lost their customer. They forgot who their customer was. I think part of that is because you get so big, you’re arrogant. You become almost arrogant — like, we can do anything we want,” Tocco said.
FOX4 reached out to TransformCo, the Illinois-based firm that operates the remaining Sears stores. Our phone calls, email and Tweets were not answered.