Sears Communicates Store Closings


Perhaps a New York Times article says it best: "Sears has been limping along for years." But after a disappointing holiday sales season, the company has decided to close 120 Kmart and Sears stores.

In its press release, titled " Sears Holdings Provides Update," the company provides its quarter-to-date performance and the rationale for the store closings and other actions:

"Given our performance and the difficult economic environment, especially for big-ticket items, we intend to implement a series of actions to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model. These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail -- at the store, online and in the home."

The press release uses the indirect organizational plan but does use bullets to highlight important changes. The full release also was hard to find. I expected to see this with the list of store closings at, which was referred to in several articles. As of this writing, the release was posted only on, and which stores are closing remains a mystery. This change will bring many layoffs, so we'll continue to see the communications unfold.

Discussion Starter and Assignment Idea:

  • Analyze the company's press release. Outline the release to show the sequence of main points. What works well about the organization, and what is lacking?
  • Imagine that you're the VP, communication, for Sears. Write an email to employees explaining the news. What, if anything, would you say about layoffs at this point?