[PLUG-TALK] Sears doomed

Keith Lofstrom keithl at kl-ic.com
Sun Jun 3 18:20:46 PDT 2018

On Sat, Jun 02, 2018 at 03:48:23PM -0700, Tomas K wrote:
> of financing Sears' downfall. The scheme is pretty simple in principle
> - Sears gets a loan from ESL + other investors, secures it with real
> stuff - cannot pay the loan - sells themselves bit by bit to pay ESL,
> gets more loans, repeat.

The amusing thing about stores like Sears (and Freddy
Kroger's) is that they don't own or choose their inventory;
that belongs to the manufacturers, who rent space from
Sears to display it, and pay Sears a cut for pretending
to sell it.  Garage Sale Warehouse for new Asian goods.

I imagine Sears has been slow to remit the proceeds from
sales, and that they arbitrage currency fluctuations to
reduce what they pay overseas producers.  The reason I
can't get a muffler from them is the manufacturer got
tired of being screwed; eBay sellers are more honest.

So, when you foolishly ask a bored sales clerk at Sears
(if you can find one) why they don't carry brand X, or
have color Y or size Z, realize that Sears does not make
the decision of what to stock or even how to display it. 
They just collect rent from the brands and remit some
rent to the shopping center that owns the square feet. 
All businesses are imaginary, but modern retail is more
imaginary than most.

I imagine there is an open source opportunity here.
Branding for communities of freelance product evaluators
and shipping expediters?  Amazon is bits and a fancy
warehouse.  Must products spend time in a warehouse
and on a store shelf, or can we arbitrage shiploads of
random stuff while it chugs eastward over the Pacific?

We do this with stuff like fresh produce now.  A truck
full of lettuce drives north out of Fresno.  At Redding,
they tell the driver whether to deliver it to Seattle or
to Boise.  Let's make that more atomic and automated.


Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com

More information about the PLUG-talk mailing list