That was a shock to some homeowners of Sears Hometown, most of that are impartial franchises.
“I thought we’d see a brighter day when Sears went bankrupt. That’s what we were told,” an proprietor of an Alabama retailer informed CNN Business. “We discovered differently the next day after the bankruptcy when we were wondering why weren’t getting the delivery we were expecting. We didn’t get inventory for probably 10 weeks.”
The common Sears Hometown retailer is just eight,000 to 10,000 sq. toes, a fraction of the dimensions of the common full Sears, which is about 160,000 sq. toes. Sears Hometown promote instruments and out of doors items and home equipment, amongst other issues.
Sears Hometown by no means stopped relying on Sears Holdings for nearly all the things. Most its items, logistics and promoting assist got here from Sears Holdings. Eddie Lampert, the CEO and chairman of Sears till its bankruptcy, stays the bulk shareholder in Sears Hometown.
The homeowners of the Hometown franchise make their cash from commissions on their gross sales. And franchise homeowners invested in their shops on the promise that they might make wholesome commissions. The two homeowners who spoke to CNN Business mentioned the investments had been in some circumstances greater than $100,000 per retailer.
“The Sears employees are losing their jobs. We’re losing our lives,” mentioned a former proprietor of three West Coast shops. “You’re left on the hook for leases, any other bills — utilities, payroll, taxes. Sears Hometown has the inventory, you have only liabilities.”
The proprietor of the Alabama retailer mentioned he is misplaced $93,000 because the starting of October. He mentioned he has been working three jobs, greater than 100 hours per week, to pay his personal payments and maintain his workers on the job. He plans to shut his retailer later this month and hopes to reopen it as an impartial equipment retailer.
In its December earnings report, Sears Hometown mentioned it anticipated to remain in enterprise regardless of Sears Holdings’ bankruptcy. It did not tackle what it or its homeowners will do if Sears is compelled out of enterprise.
Many doubt Sears Hometown will have the ability to survive a Sears liquidation.
“Theoretically, they could try to sell other brands. But they would have a much more challenging business model,” mentioned Mark Cohen, the director of retail research on the Columbia Business School and a former CEO of Sears Canada. “They’re not insolvent. But when Sears goes into liquidation, this business will probably be next.”