Sears was really far, far ahead of its time. You could get anything in the catalog and have it delivered anywhere, like Amazon today.
Sears had a lot of its own-branded but high-quality stuff - Craftsman, Kenmore, Ted Williams, and Sears (as in telescopes). Like Costco/Kirkland today.
Having a traditional/old people vibe is an advantage. Look at Duluth Trading and LL Bean today.
Successful bricks and mortar retail is admittedly very hard today. If it is possible at all, the physical experience has to be superior to the online experience to overcome the overhead cost, traffic & parking hassle, etc. No, indifferent salespeople and nothing in stock and long checkout lines is not the way. Apple and Best Buy might be succeeding (too early to tell).
I grew up in a true Sears family. It is sad to see. I don't think it was inevitable.
Edited by PBEvans, 30 December 2018 - 10:21 PM.