UPDATE: On December 13, 2022 it was announced that the Sears in Frederick, Maryland will soon liquidate and close permanently.
One thing you can count on from the mainstream media every holiday season is a headline expressing awe that there are some Sears stores still in existence and speculation that this year could finally be the last holiday season for Sears. And yet, here we are again in 2022 where many Americans can still walk into a local Sears store. Here at Brostocks, we decided to just that so we hopped in the car and drove three and a half hours to Frederick, Maryland (the closest Sears to me) to see what Black Friday was like at a Sears in 2022.
Like our many other Sears visits over the past several years post bankruptcy, it’s a familiar theme. Sparse inventory is spread to make it look like there’s more than what is actually there. Entire sections are blocked off. One difference this trip was that there were actual customers there and at times a few lines. However, compared to the rest of Frederick, Maryland’s Francis Scott Key Mall, there were way less customers at Sears than the other truly packed stores such as Barnes and Noble, Bath and Body Works and JC Penney.
The store also actually had associates on the floor. By my count, it might have even been ten or more associates working the floor. Typically, it is very hard to find any at a modern Sears. The busiest sections included appliances where several large appliances were actually being sold as well as tools and jewelry.
There were a few other observations I noticed for the first time on this visit. Sears seems to have an endless supply of just enough Craftsman tools to remind a shopper that they once owned the storied and iconic brand. However, as anyone who has visited a Sears in the last few years will notice, many of the once packed Craftsman tools sections have remaining displays that are often quite empty. However, interestingly, some of them have been filled with what looks like a cheaply made tool brand called WORKPRO that has a very similar color scheme to Craftsman.
Another interesting thing to note about this Sears store is that it sublet out its Auto Center. All Sears Auto centers closed officially in early 2022. The Sears in Frederick appears to now be rented out to a local Mitsubishi dealership. However, it seems that there is still a Sears branded aspect of the Auto Center area called the ‘KeyLess Shop at Sears’ which is the only one I’ve seen functioning in any of my store visits.
The Last Holiday Season for Sears?
As we’ve documented over the years, Sears has been very slowly going extinct since its 2018 bankruptcy. And this was our third visit to this Frederick Sears over the last two years. With each visit, it’s a valid thought that it might be your last visit to that particular Sears store or any Sears store. After all, last year around the holidays, we visited the Willow Grove, Pennsylvania location only to watch it announce its own closure just weeks later.
The holiday décor, much like the number of Sears stores remaining, was very much stripped down at the Frederick Sears. In fact, there were no Christmas trees in the store displayed or even for sale. As we left the mall parking lot and watched the sun go down on the cold and sunny November day, you always wonder, will this be the last time I visit this store? It’s hard to tell if what feels like the longest exit of an iconic and historic retailer will continue it’s journey through 2023…
For more, view our below video walkthrough from our store visit:
How many Kmarts are left in the United States?
How many JcPenney stores are left?
How many Sears Hometown Stores are left?
Sears, Francis Scott Key Mall, Frederick, MD (visit)
Sears at Christmas in 2019
Sears at Christmas 2021