Eroding Sales at Sears Prompts National Store Closures

In May Sears Holdings, the parent company of iconic retail chains Sears and Kmart, announced it would close more than 70 of its stores nationwide as sales continue to erode. Edison Trends examined sales leading up to the announcement across Sears, its sister company Kmart, and sales performance across competing department stores J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, and Macy’s.

Figure 1a-1b. How did Sears and Kmart online sales performance compare to their competitors leading up to the May 31 store closure announcement?

Figure 1a. Revenue comparison between Sears, Kmart and competitors

Figure 1a: Data shows the estimated relative trend in monthly online revenue for retailers Sears, Kmart, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, and Macy’s between August 2017 and May 2018, based on the Edison Trends dataset.

Edison Trends discovered that Sears’ May revenue was about 40% higher than their April numbers, and 60% higher than in February. Macy's also saw large gains for May, with online sales revenue nearly 40% higher than at the beginning of the year. Over the ten-month period, Sears online monthly revenue averaged about 17% of what Kohl's and Macy's achieved.

Figure 1b. Sales Order Volume comparison between Sears, Kmart and competitors

Figure 1b: Data shows the estimated relative trend in monthly online sales order volume for retailers Sears, Kmart, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, and Macy’s between August 2017 and May 2018, based on the Edison Trends dataset.

Edison Trends’ analysis revealed that though Sears saw an online revenue increase in May, customers made fewer orders. The average amount spent per order increased, accounting for the higher revenue. The number of orders was down 5% from April, and 25% since January.

Macy's has seen the strongest growth in online orders in 2018, climbing 28% in monthly order volume over the last five months. Kohl's was the strongest performer overall. Their monthly online order volume was, on average, ten times that of Sears during the ten-month period.

*Figures on graphs have been normalized. A conversion factor has been applied so that the highest sales day for each graph is given the value of 100, and all other days are adjusted by that factor, maintaining the same relationship to each other as before. e.g. 20% in a chart means ‘20% of the sales of the peak period’ (100%).

**The data shown is based on a sample of anonymized and aggregated e-receipts from more than 2.9 million users in the United States. To learn more about what Edison Trends can do for your business contact us at bizdev@edison.tech. Follow us on Twitter at @EdisonTrends.

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