Names that all used to mean something to everyone. Unfortunately not many young people remember the Christmas Wishbook. There has been a paradigm shift in the way consumers shop and surprisingly it’s what first put these and other companies on the map, only in a slightly different format.
Sears, Wards, JC Penny and others all started as catalog sales companies. They had very few retail stores everything was done through the mail system. They mailed out millions of catalogs ever year and made what would today be considered billions of dollars in sales. Things changed after WWII and they went to brick and mortar stores as there was a shit at that time to instant gratification. I want it now, I will pick it up now.
That has changed thanks to Amazon and other online retailers. People are willing to wait to have something shipped direct to their door. I used to work in the furniture end of internet sales and customers were willing to wait up to 3 months to have their furniture made. I sold Millions of dollars of solid hardwood furniture all done from an online picture the customer saw. Of the thousands of customers I worked with only 1 or 2 ever saw anything more than a wood chip sample. It’s basically catalog sales only without having to print and deliver a catalog, which was how Sears and the like were founded.
The box retailers are missing the shift and going the way of the dinosaurs. People are willing to wait, but they also like the connivence of picking things up. They could easily go back to catalog type sales online and turn many of their box locations into clearance outlets and return centers.
It would require a massive shift in their thinking and way of operating but without they are missing the boat and going to disappear.