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Natick Sears to close

Store makes the latest shrinking-Sears list. Oldtimers will recall when the Natick Mall was anchored by Sears and Filenes.

H/t UHub roving Sears-closing correspondent Ron Newman.

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The demise of Sears , which shut down it’s all powerful catalogue just as the Internet was gaining ground , has to go down as the most epic management failure in the history of business.

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That's the thing that people need to remember: Amazon does exactly what any other retailer does, they predict what their customers want and position inventory so that they can deliver it quickly when it's ordered.

Time was, that was inseparable from a bricks-and-mortar location. And a lot of stores you don't hear about anymore confused the mechanism (bricks and mortar) with the actual value-added product (predictive analytics, targeted advertising, and product delivery). That's a big part of what makes these places fold. All the department store consolidations in the mid 90s were blamed on dot-com 1.0, but the fact that a lot of retailers big and small are still around kind of puts the lie to that.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Amazon in a couple of decades after Bezos flies off to his secret moon base and the management turns over. Sears lasted over a century before it lost its way. One wonders if the tech-centric culture of a place like Amazon might insulate it from that kind of management rot and complacency. Then again, IBM was pretty techy compared to other companies and it's a shadow of its former self. Helwett-Packard was even techier and it's in even worse shape. And on the flip side, Target and Walmart are quite healthy with strong bricks-and-mortar and strong internet sales as far as I can tell.

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Time was, that was inseparable from a bricks-and-mortar location.

That's the saddest thing about this: The Sears Catalog basically *was* Amazon decades before Amazon came into existence. Their catalog business predated their retail store business. And they abandoned it just as internet commerce was beginning.

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I bought my first computer within a week of the day I saw a demonstration of the power of message boards and online information. That was Prodigy, a joint venture of Sears and IBM. Sears owned mail-order shopping for decades before that, and they ruled the appliance world with their revered Kenmore brand.

They could have been Amazon and they blew it.

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I've been saying this for years. If Sears had hung on 3 more years instead of closing down their catalog service in 1993 (the original one before reviving it in the 2000s), they could have been amazon (or at least had amazon buy them for logistical services)

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And they abandoned it just as internet commerce was beginning.

Why wouldnt they abandon their physical catalog?

They should have turned it into a online catalog, but they didnt. In fact, they were very slow to adapt to online shopping.

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The printed catalog was just a small part of the whole catalog business, just as the web site is only a small part of an e-commerce company (assuming they're selling physical goods). All the operational and logistical parts of the catalog business (warehouses, supply chain, order fulfillment infrastructure, returns processing, etc, etc) would have translated fairly easily to an internet business. It took years for Amazon to go from just being a bookstore to selling practically everything. Sears could have gotten there almost instantly.

[Note: I used to work at an online retail company (neither Sears nor Amazon). The technology group, i.e. the people who built and maintained the web site represented probably no more than 10% of the employees of the company, if that].

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when your CEO tries to literally implement "Atlas Shrugged," a bad book for idiots, as a business strategy. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/column-this-is-what-happens-when-yo...

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There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

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has been dead for years. my wife and i went in there a few years back to look at appliances. we found a few that we liked and thought the prices were fair. we then tried to find a salesperson... 25 minutes later we gave up and went to lowes were we got help in about 30 seconds.

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I hope that Ron gets an invitation to the Closing Ceremony!

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Charter stores included Pray's Furniture, Hot Shoppes Cafeteria, Fanny Farmer Candies, Brigham's Ice Cream, Parklane Hosiery, an F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10 and Star Market grocery store.

Ahh the 60's! Only Star Market still exists as a chain.

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Star really isnt even the same company anymore if you compare it to the 1960s. Its more of a brand now for Shaw's/Albertsons trying to pretend its "local" still. Its basically Shaw's Lite. Wake me up when the Mugar family buys it back.. (they won't)

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I remember when downtown Boston had a Fanny Farmer's on practically every corner in the 60s and 70s. And they were always literally on a corner for some reason. Always staffed by older women wearing white coats. Likewise there was a Brighams everywhere you looked. They were as ubiquitous as Starbucks is today.

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Hell, anyone over 13 should remember a mall anchored by a Filene's and Sears. I think the Cape Cod Mall had two Filene's at one point.

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I think that one, like Cambridge, was never listed on any public closing list, but it's going away as well.

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I see no mention of "Cape Cod" or "Hyannis" on that page at all.

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I'll miss Good / Better / Best.

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It's official. I am 38 and an old timer. *sigh*

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Apparently, not all mall operators are sad. Sears apparently was not generating good rents for them and were locked into long leases. The closings open up possibilities. Malls were over-developed anyway. Maybe there will be some better uses.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sears-bankruptcy-reits/many-u-s-mall-...

The demise of retail is overstated. A lot of the problems with retail has to do with vulture capital stripping assets rather than the concept of retail itself. Apple does fine with its retail stores and is happy to make the investment.

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The stereotypical, stifling malls as we tend to think of them, with lame food courts, are probably dead in general, although places like Burlington Mall and Chestnut Hill seem to be doing really well. It's anecdotal experience, but we're probably going to see a shift towards open-air retail, with restauranty feeding places, not sure why. At least that's the impression I get from visiting places like Assembly Row and MarketStreet Lynnfield (what kind of name is MarketStreet?) - always packed to the gills, even during the day.

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despite the soon-to-close Sears. I like the outdoor shopping places in June and October, but am less enthusiastic about them in February.

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Not sure if this was already noted, but the Sears at the Cambridgeside Galleria is closing as well. I was there today and all of the items are on clearance.

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