Can Domain Names be More Valuable Than Brick and Mortar Stores?

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An interesting question was asked this morning at Seeking Alpha; “What happens when a brick and mortar retailer’s brand becomes more valuable as a domain name than as a chain of stores?”

We might be seeing the answer to that question at department store legend Sears Holdings and office supply category killer Staples

Summary

  • Sears and Staples might be more valuable as domain names than as brick and mortar stores.
  • Staples’ online revenue is nearly double Netflix’s TTM revenues.
  • Eddie Lampert’s recent actions at Sears look like a blueprint for shifting from brick and mortar to eCommerce.
  • Sears’ Shop Your Way and Staples Rewards seems to be designed to lure customers online and away from brick and mortar stores.

In the past year both of those retailers have made headlines for falling revenues, big losses, closing stores, and collapsing sales. Sears is in the process of closing 235 stores and Staples plans to close 225 stores.

Sears and Staples look like retail dinosaurs, yet both of them were among the top five online retailers in 2013, according to Internet Retailer. An interactive chart showed that Staples was number three and Sears was number five. Staples’ 2013 online revenue was $10.4 billion and Sears’ online revenue was $4.9 billion.

So what do these numbers tell us? One thing for sure is that Sears and Staples both have bright futures online!

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