Plagued by the realities threatening many retail stores, Sears also faces a unique problem (alternate link): [CEO Eddie] Lampert. Lampert runs Sears like a hedge fund portfolio, with dozens of autonomous businesses competing for his attention and money. An outspoken advocate of free-market economics and fan of the novelist Ayn Rand, he created the model because he expected the invisible hand of the market to drive better results. If the company’s leaders were told to act selfishly, he argued, they would run their divisions in a rational manner, boosting overall performance.
Last One Falling - photographer Amy Connolly documented the last days of a Liverpool branch of HMV whilst working there in 2011, a stark contrast to the images of the flagship store in the sixties and seventies (previously). The chain yesterday announced it was entering administration after 91 years on the high street. [more inside]
The iEconomy: Apple and Technology Manufacturing. Since January, the New York Times has been running a series of articles "examining the challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries," with a focus on Apple's business practices. The seventh article in the series was published today: In Technology Wars, Using the Patent as a Sword. Related: For Software, Cracks in the Patent System and Fighters in the Patent War. [more inside]
Economies of Scale is a free, web-based multiplayer business/commerce simulation game under development by Scott Rubyton (aka Ratan Joyce). Players use starting capital to build production/wholesale/retail businesses from the ground up in a basic economic model, competing for market share while collaborating through business-to-business trading of goods and materials. It's more fun than getting an MBA! Also much less expensive. [more inside]
Farhad Manjoo of Slate argues that buying books from Amazon is better than buying from local bookstores.
Game over for Toys "R" Us? A sale of their global toy business is being considered. FAO Schwarz and KB Toys have declared bankruptcy in the past year as discounters such as Wal-Mart have put the toy industry in turmoil. [full NY Times article; req.req]
This job would be great if it weren't for the customers... Demon customers might not just annoy employees, but they may actually cost businesses money. Maybe a guide would be useful.
Montgomery Ward to Shut Down Stores. It's sad to lose another retailer that you can count on for quality merchandise. It seems that the day on the department store is almost over.