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A Bonobos in lower Manhattan on April 18, 2017, in New York City. The high-end men's clothing retailer is in talks with Walmart for an approximately $300-million sale. Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty Images

Last month, Sears announced its plan to close another 72 stores and identified 100 as unprofitable, after its 26th consecutive quarter with diminishing sales. Sears and similar retailers have suffered largely because of changing consumer behavior and market dominance of Amazon, which was responsible for 44% of all U.S. e-commerce sales last year. 

But, but, but: While sales have declined the past six years for Sears, brick-and-mortar sales overall have increased each of the past four, driven by retailers who blend online and offline commerce and deliver memorable experiences. Companies such as Amazon and Apple built on consumer-first retail DNA, while other leaders such as Walmart and Target have acquired that DNA through aggressive acquisitions of next-generation brands such as Jet.com, Bonobos and Shipt.

Flashback: Never forget Blockbuster, the once-leading but now-defunct movie rental business. Blockbuster didn’t embrace digital change despite an opportunity in 2005 to purchase Netflix for $50 million, doubling down instead on the brick-and-mortar model by acquiring Hollywood Video. Today, Blockbuster is gone and Netflix is bigger than Disney, Comcast and Fox.

Lessons learned: Retailers that want to satisfy tomorrow’s consumer demand have to embrace trends, invest aggressively and acquire smaller, well-positioned companies, brands and management teams. Sears could have leveraged its retail footprint, scale, supply chain, iconic Craftsman and Kenmore brands and distribution advantages in concert with startup strategy to transition its business, but missed the opportunity.

The big picture: Successful retailers meet consumers where they want to be, providing value, variety and minimal purchase friction. Those that hold on to dated brands, distribution channels, experiences and value propositions will likely be left behind.

Tige Savage is a managing partner at Revolution Ventures.

Go deeper

Updated 2 mins ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

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