Why is Sears so successful in Mexico despite its failure in the US?


Sears and Carlos Slim

Why, if they are called the same, in the United States the chain declared bankruptcy and in Mexico it lives one of its best moments?

Sears, the iconic chain that came to lead America’s malls, filed for bankruptcy in 2018. By November 2021, it closed its last store in its home state of Illinois, captivated by the rise of e-commerce.

In contrast, in Mexico, it seems to be the opposite. Almost five years ago, Sears began remodeling its old stores in the country and opened several stores in different parts of the Republic. What is the secret?

Despite having the same name, Sears Holdings was considered an institution and after 132 years in the market, it declared bankruptcy. Sears de México, on the other hand, continues to be the darling of many Mexicans and this is thanks to Carlos Slim.

Sears was born in 1886 and is considered one of the first brands in the United States to create large commercial stores. At the time, it was even nicknamed the company “of the American dream”, from being a small business, it became an emporium.

After 61 years in the market, in 1947 the chain opened its first store in the Mexican Republic. Back then, it was a subsidiary of Sears Roebuck, as the consortium was called at the time.

It was until 1997, five decades later, that Grupo Carso from the Mexican magnate bought 85% of Sears’ shares in Mexico. The business began to thrive even more than in the United States and by 2012, Slim acquired more than 99% of the shares, according to a company annual report.

In this sense, Sears Mexico no longer has anything to do with Sears Holding, so the operations are independent and autonomous. The same name is used because the entrepreneur has the right until 2026.

E-commerce, an enemy for the US but an ally of Mexico

The main reason that Sears Holding could not sustain itself was e-commerce, since its rapid growth meant that the company could not understand and serve customers through new platforms.

Even though in Mexico there was also an increase in online commerce, Internet purchases and users coverage still does not reach the entire population and since the pandemic, companies have accelerated their coverage processes on the web.

To this is added the experience of Carlos Slim and his family. According to one of his sons and head of Grupo Sanborns, Patrick Slim Domit, electronic commerce is one of the corporate priorities for the coming years.

Source: Alto Nivel