Sears customers should protect themselves now

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) —Days could be numbered for your neighborhood Sears store.

Declining sales and years of losses, are putting the future of the major retailer in jeopardy.

Sears is best known for their famous Kenmore appliances.

“I like Sears.  And I really like, especially I like the appliances,” said Patti Graham.

But the company lost 2.2 billion dollars in the last fiscal year and the company that owns Sears and K-mart, hasn’t turned a profit since 2011.

“Our historical operating results indicate substantial doubt exists related to the company’s ability to continue as a going concern,” the company stated in its annual report.

Sears customers need to protect themselves now, according to consumer protection officials.

“Warranties, even lifetime warranties are the life of the business, not of the customer. So the best thing to do is get out those warranties now and see who honors them” said Anna Maria Millett of Pinellas County Consumer Protection.

Millett said if you’re warranty is from a third party, you will likely be fine, but if it comes from Sears, the warranty may no longer be valid once the company goes out of business.

To raise money, Sears is selling its craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker.  Kenmore and DieHard could be next.

“If you have gift cards or credits, start using those now because unless its applied to another company or honored by another company, they’re no longer going to be valid as well” said Millett.

And the same goes for the department store’s “Shop Your Way” rewards points.

Steep competition could be to blame for the company’s downfall.

“I think it’s like a Walmart thing. Ya know, they just take over. Shouldn’t probably say that. But it’s true. The cheaper box stores are just taking over” said Sears customer, Diana Johnston.

The thinking on Wall Street is, Sears could stay afloat until the end of the year.  After that, all bets are off.

 

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