A few years ago, I went to a local big box retailer to buy a snowblower. It was a name brand with a good reputation that I knew from years ago, or so I thought, and I felt I had made a good purchase.
With months it had engine problems and a fuel leak. I had a buddy take a look at it, and he educated me a bit about this particular brand, which wasn't what I thought it was.
The company had gone out of business years ago, he told me, and its name had been bought by another manufacturer that proceeded to turn out substandard machines, capitalizing on the good name that this company had years ago.
This apparently is not uncommon in the consumer goods world, companies go out of business and others swoop in to buy up names, logos, branding, etc.
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Eventually I think this is what we will see with the Sears/Kmart brand.
Yes, the company's ineptitude and inability to remotely keep up with the times has hurt its brand, but someone will be able to make some sort of use of the Sears name in particular. The chain will not have thousands of stores like it once did, but the Sears name still holds some cache with many.
Will it become an online only retailer? Or survive with a few hundred stores and a re-worked business plan, or by some hack churning out junk under the moniker? Time will tell. But it's sad to see those big empty spaces at malls around the region, know that those local retail jobs are gone, and probably are not coming back.
-- Don Lehman