What Sears Closings May Mean for Consumers
AnnaMaria Andriotis / SmartMoney
Store closures are often followed by steep discounts, but retail experts say consumers probably shouldn’t get too excited by the latest news that Sears Holding Corp is closing up to 120 of its Kmart and Sears stores. Unless, that is, they happen to live near one of the soon-to-be shuttered locations.
Consumers may find discounts at those stores scheduled to get shut down, retail analysts say, but sales are unlikely to trickle over into the roughly 95% of Sears and Kmart stores that will remain open. Though details of the closings haven’t been disclosed yet, typically when stores prepare to shut down, they bring in another company to oversee the sale of its remaining products, says Brian Sozzi, a retail analyst. That means it’s highly unlikely that their remaining inventory would get shipped over to another store.
Instead, consumers may find bargains at the stores scheduled to close. Initial discounts could range between 30% and 40% off, says Sozzi. Sears declined to comment, other than to say it has yet to determine which stores will be closed.
But timing will be everything. Products that are expected to sell fast, like flat-screen TVs, will likely have the smallest discounts in the store, says Jeff Green, an independent retail analyst in Phoenix, Ariz. On the other hand, shoppers who want to snag clothing at low price can wait. Apparel tends to be the slowest to go when a store is shutting down, and the products that linger on the floor the longest will also end up receiving the biggest discounts, which could be up to 70% off, says Sozzi.
Of course, as with most store closings, all sales will likely be final. Returns are rarely possible, says Green.
As far as Sears’ competitors go, analysts say it’s unlikely that they’ll slash prices further as a result of these closings. If anything, fewer competitors means big box retailers have less of a reason to offer more sales than they are now.