This could finally be Sears' and Kmart's last holiday shopping season
New York (CNN Business) This Black Friday could very likely be the start of the final holiday shopping season for Sears and Kmart, two brands that once proudly dominated the US retail landscape.
At the time, the holding company — given the overly optimistic name Transformco — still had 223 Sears and 202 Kmart stores nationwide.
That was already down 87% from the 3,500 stores between the two brands when they merged together in 2005 to form Sears Holdings.
But the percentage drop in stores since the company emerged from bankruptcy in February of 2019 has been even steeper.
Today there are only 21 full-line Sears stores left in the mainland United States, and two more in Puerto Rico, according to the store locator on the Sears website, once recent closings are eliminated.
Many retail experts blame Eddie Lampert, the primary owner of Transformco and Sears Holdings, for the demise of two chains.
He keeps them open if it's expedient to stay open," said Mark Cohen, the director of retail studies at Columbia University.
"It's been in terminal decline for quite sometime," said Neil Saunders, managing director and retail analyst at research firm GlobalData.
That makes it more difficult for Sears or Kmart to have the products that shoppers want.
Kmart started in 1899 when founder Sebastian Spering Kresge opened a five-and-dime store in downtown Detroit bearing his name.
The promotions started in 1965 but were discontinued in 1991, although Kmart has tried to bring them back several times.
The company was once the largest retailer in the country -— both the Walmart and the Amazon during its heyday.