From Wall Street to the mall, Sears Holdings Inc. (SHLD) might be the most hated major American company.
While still huge, with more than 2,500 Searsand Kmart stores and nearly $40 billion in annual sales, the company is decades past its prime, trapped in too many faded downtowns and first-generation malls, shrinking rather than growing.
Sears Roebuck, as the company used to be known, was the Amazon.com (AMZN) of its day, thanks to its comprehensive mail-order catalog and early expansion across fast-growing postwar suburbs. Sears was once so powerful that it built and anchored the largest skyscraper in the country in Chicago (now the Willis Tower).
Yet public affection for storied store brands often doesn’t survive generational shifts, and Sears has been largely rejected by today’s shoppers in favor of newer chains with larger formats and better pricing, from Target Corp. (TGT) to Home Depot Inc. (HD) to Kohl’s Corp. (KSS)
Read more at Unexpected Returns.