Whoopsie! 5 Reasons Sears Lost Its Lead in Appliance Sales

by Christopher Freeburn | August 23, 2013 10:19 am

Sears 300x203 Whoopsie! 5 Reasons Sears Lost Its Lead in Appliance Sales[1]Once upon a time, Sears (SHLD[2]) was the go-to store for many Americans looking to buy an refrigerator or dishwasher and the retailer’s Kenmore line of appliances was a formidable industry presence. But in recent years, that dominance has faded[3].

Just over a decade ago, Sears sold 40% of all appliances in the U.S., compared to just 10% for the second-ranked appliance retailer, Lowes (LOW[4]), and 4% for Home Depot (HD[5]). But in the last twelve months, its share had fallen to just 29% of appliance sales, with Lowe’s jumping to 19% and Home Depot rising to 12%, the Wall Street Journal notes.

Appliances still account for 18.8% overall sales at Sears, but the chain is clearly stumbling. In its most recent quarter, lower appliance sales contributed to a decline in same-store sales.

So, how did Sears bungle its market lead in appliances? The Wall Street Journal identifies 5 reasons[6]:

  1. Sears disrupted a key relationship with Whirlpool (WHR[7]) that had underpinned the business for decades.
  2. Key management positions turned over frequently.
  3. Decaying stores that kept customers away hurt appliance departments as well.
  4. Executives focused on technological gimmicks like giving sales associates iPads that proved more frustrating than useful.
  5. Meanwhile, competitors were building up their appliance businesses.

Shares of Sears fell more than 1% in Friday morning trading.

Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: http://investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Sears.jpg
  2. SHLD: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=SHLD
  3. that dominance has faded: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323665504579028371672070930.html
  4. LOW: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=LOW
  5. HD: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=HD
  6. identifies 5 reasons: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323665504579028371672070930.html
  7. WHR: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=WHR

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