Morphing Economic Conditions in Chicago, Illinois Threaten Existence of Department Stores

The American department store chain Sears, which once dominated as “the world’s largest retailer,” is closing its last store in Illinois, where it is headquartered. According to Chicago media reports on the 12th, Sears plans to permanently close its last Illinois store at the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Chicago’s northwest suburb, from the 14th. It has been three years since filing for bankruptcy protection in 2018, 125 years after its inception due to changing times.

This store was first opened in September 1971, 50 years ago, and was one of the largest stores in the United States (about 39,000 square meters). It was the closest store to the headquarters in neighboring Hoffman state and had a lot of symbolic significance. Transformco, the current owner of Sears Holdings, parent company of Sears, said: “Following the refurbishment and renovation of the building, we plan to introduce popular retailers that cater to the tastes of shopping center users. We are trying to maximize our sales. Sears currently focuses on the Sears.com and Sears Home Service franchise online shopping mall business that provides home appliance repair and maintenance services. Sears began operations in Chicago in 1893 as “the world’s first mail order supplier” and opened its first store in Chicago on the West Side in 1925.

In 1974, the tallest building in the world, Sears Tower (now Willis Tower, 108 stories, 442 m), was built in downtown Chicago and reached its heyday, operating 3,500 stores in the United States. However, in the 2000s, it faced financial difficulties due to the growth of a giant online mall, and in 2004 it was acquired by hedge fund manager Edward Lampert (ESL Investments) and eventually filed for bankruptcy protection in October 2018. of the year.

Lampert then founded Transformco and received a court-approved plan to revitalize the selective acquisition of 425 excellent Sears stores with personal money. At the time, some criticized that Lampert, who had served as Sears CEO since 2013, was in fact the axis of the Sears collapse and that he was only interested in real estate. Sears said in April 2019, according to CNN Business and others, that “Lampert stole billions of dollars in company assets, instigated bankruptcy, and monopolized Sears.” He also filed a lawsuit against Chicago NBC reported that there are currently about 30 Sears stores in the United States. As online shopping exploded in the wake of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) pandemic, upscale department store chain Nieman Marcus, mid-range department stores JC Penny and 200-year-old Road & Taylor filed for bankruptcy protection one after another. In the past year.