Has deteriorated since I left the Sears division in August 2003 when my field internship ended. During the 3 months I spent working in a Sears store, I learned from my coworkers of the changes implemented not long after K-Mart acquired Sears. One would believe that it was the other way around, but in reality it was K-Mart who bought out the then-ailing Sears and Roebuck although consumers have generally perceived Sears as the stronger store due to its history, customer service and product lineup.
However, that is no longer the case. Sears used to be known for their excellent customer service for their segment, but now it has been transformed into K-Mart standards since the acquisition. Brands that were once associated with Sears and known for their value and reliability such as Craftsman and Kenmore are now sold in K-Marts, which has generally been known as a store with low-value and a great place to shop for the working class. The Sears store employees have it the worst: the part-time workers lost benefits that drove them to work there in the first place such as medical insurance and paid vacations, fulltime workers had their pensions frozen, while turnover has been steadily increasing due to the clash of corporate cultures due to the “merger”.
There has now been consideration among Associates to unionise as conditions continue to reach the “K-Mart standards” and as customers increasingly vent their frustrations with the store towards them. Any criticism of changes due to the “merger” are discouraged with some staff being flagged for making such remarks, bureaucracy has increased tenfold and now everything is more-or-less run by K-Mart people.
ust look at the consumer complaints filed online if you don’t believe me. It seems cost-cutting and aggressive selling is the new corporate culture in Sears (K-Mart) Holdings Corporation. Edward Lampert, the Chairman of SHLD, once worked under Warren Buffet and it is possible that he will gradually strip down Sears and K-Mart to the point where his company will just consist of a series of equities, assets, and independent subsidiaries similar to Berkshire Hathaway, which began as a textile firm before it was shutdown and evolved into its present-day incarnation. The SHLD stock is not valued based on the company’s overall performance or market strength, but rather on its assessed value in primarily in the form of brands, cash flow and real estate from all the store locations.