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Getting some tools at clearance sale prices?

Yes, we all seem to be aware that Sears Craftsman tools are not of the same quality that they used to be, but today’s announcement of the closing of an additional 78 Sears & K-Mart stores might present an opportunity to grab some bargains as that troubled company tries to to clear-out their merchandise.

Who knows? There might even be some good prices on tires and batteries:

Thanks for the tip. I’m surprised the store at the Mall of NH isn’t listed. It has all he activity of a graveyard.

Sears is a prime example of how the market changes and steamrollers the company that won’t adapt to change. The very definition of the concept of Creative Destruction.

No sure I’d rush out to buy Craftsman tools of dubious origin. One of the reasons I have Craftsman tools is the ease of replacing them when they fail. If I no longer have a Sears nearby, that reason pretty much evaporates.

"the store at the Mall of NH isn't listed. It has all he activity of a graveyard."

It sounds like that store has the same amount of customer traffic as their stores in my neck of the woods. And yet, there were no NJ stores on the list of locations slated for closing.

If the near-empty store near you, and the near-empty ones near me, are not slated for closing, I think that tells us something about the state of affairs at the stores that are going to be closed.

The report lists only 10 Sears stores to close the rest are K-Mart stores. There is a giant difference between the craftsman tools that K-Mart sells and the ones found in the sears stores.

When our local K-mart started selling Craftsman I went down to look for a new set of !/2 in drive deep impact sockets. Mine were a hodgepodge that had been acquired through the years.
I almost bought a set until I happened to look a little closer and the stamping with the socket sizes was so small you could hardly see it …and my eyes are getting old. Needless to say I did not buy that set.

I happened to stop into the Sears store about 6 weeks ago to get a wrench replaced that was just plain worn out. I kept rounding over bolt heads with it and finally realized it was the wrench itself.
While I was waiting I browsed the aisles a bit and the sears stores do not carry these cheap knock-offs. I got my wrench replaced with little effort and even bought a new set of Flair nut wrenches.

I heard that the Ace Hardware stores are now carrying Craftsman, but I’m not sure what quality they are carrying.

Our local K-Mart could close and it wouldn’t bother me a bit. They never have the staff on duty to man more than a register or two, and if it happens that many people are there you will be waiting in a line 10 people deep. I rarely go there.
For Sears…we have a large Sears store 25 minutes away and 45 minutes away there is a Craftsman store. They only handle Power tools, hand tools, mowers and garden machinery, and appliances.
I’ll bet that this place gets more traffic than our K-Mart any day. The lot is always full.


Going through my toolbox is lesson in economic history. An extremely tough pair of pruning shears was made in "“West Germany”. My two lumber saws (Swede saws) were made in… Sweden.

My better newer tools were all Japanese made. My cast aluminum level is an Austin, made in the US by the Austin Level Company.

All recent tools are made in China, including those power tools sold by US and German companies."

Us made items include a Neuton electric lawn mower, aluminum extension ladder, Black & Decker Workmate, Melcor sprinkler.

The Sears at Rockingham mall in Salem cut themselves in half just before Christmas. They moved out of the second floor and consolidated everything into the first. The second floor is now occupied by Dicks Sporting goods.

As for Bankruptcy stores…99.999% of the time there is no deal to be had. When stores go bankrupt they usually sell their unwanted inventory to a bankruptcy company. The inventory they want to keep, they’ll just move to other stores. The bankruptcy company comes in and put prices on all the remaining stock. And they’ll have signs like 50% off. That’s 50% off does NOT mean 50% off of what the item was selling for before bankruptcy…it’s an arbitrary number since the bankruptcy company is not part of the company that went out of business…they can actually charge anything.

Prime example of this was when Circuit City went out of business. I was pricing a new printer about 2 weeks before they went out of business…then they announced bankruptcy…closed stores for a week, then reopened with the 50% off sale. I went there to look at that printer. 3 weeks prior they must have had 50 in the store. Now they had less then 5. And at the 50% off sale price…the printer was actually HIGHER then the price it was before bankruptcy. But people are stupid buyers…and they believed the 50% off sale…such stupid fools. I ended up buying the printer at BestBuy at significantly less then the so-called sale price at Circuit City bankruptcy company.

Nothing near me, not that my 1974-era Craftsman collection is missing much.

I have become a Channel-lock fan, their slip joint pliers grabbed and worked where the cheapo ones didn’t.

LOL, good point, VDC.

The two Sears near me do well. There was a K-Mart that changed to a Sears Greatland after the merger, and since closed. But it was a small store for a department store. The food store across the parking lot is moving in now after the store was vacant for at least 5 years. That’s a good move for the Giant Foods store. The building is a lot larger than the one they have been in. I talked to a cashier about it last weekend, and she said that all the departments will be a lot larger. She was excited about the move.

The K-Mart that was closest to my house closed-up several years ago, which was a good thing because even a few years before they closed, there were so many empty shelves in that store that they hardly had anything to sell.

That store remained vacant for a couple of years, and then Tractor Supply Company moved in.
I have bought more merchandise from TSC in the past 2 years than I bought at that K-Mart in the preceding 14 years!

Worth a shot, but I doubt they’ll discount the tools much. They can pack them up and sell them at another Sears store. A Sears recently closed in my area, had been in business there for years and years, but even near the very end of their going out of business sale there wasn’t much in the way of tool discounts there. I figured maybe they’d be more willing to sell bigger things at a discount, harder to ship to another store, so I made an offer of $500 on a floor model refrigerator they had listed at $650, told them I’d pick it up in my truck at their loading dock so no trucking to my place involved, but they wouldn’t budge a dime. The inventory clearance salesman said they’d just ship it to another store if they can’t sell it for $650.

Probably evidence of more bad business decisions on their part!

The Sears located here closed a couple of years ago and I don’t know how it stayed open as long as it did, Even 15 years ago it was like a mausoleum any day of the week.

For some reason the business climate here is not as welcoming. There’s no Best Buy, Target, Tractor Supply, and so on even though smaller cities 50-75 miles away have those type of retailers.

The city fought Wal Mart tooth and nail for 6 years over putting in a SuperCenter on the outlying edge of town. There was a paved 2 lane road about 2.5 miles long running north from the highway and the city’s claim was that “Wal Mart traffic would clog up the works”.

So while they’re stalling Wal Mart in an extortion attempt to get WM to foot the bill for reworking that stretch of roadway they allowed Lowes to set up on one corner and a local farm and ranch store to build a corporate office and warehouse on the other. Needless to say that warehouse has heavy truck traffic in and out all the time and all operating off of a narrow 2 lane.

Wal Mart refused to budge and the city finally allowed them to build. The city never said a negative word about 3 churches, a new school, multiple housing additions, nursing home, private school, and a number of other facilities to build along there.
Everyone knew that road was going to be swamped; Wal Mart or no Wal Mart. The 3 churches went in first on open prairie and one thing preachers are good at is sniffing out future money through the city planning commission.

We have a Tractor Supply store about 15 minutes from my shop. I go there occasionally but am not fond of their tools.
Last year I bought a set of drill bits with the hex shanks to fit into my power driver.
I took them back twice and the third set were finally actually straight. Each set had at least three of the eight bits that wobbled so bad you couldn’t have kept them in a center punch hole.

We have two other farm stores, “Farm and Fleet”, and “Fleet Farm” (brothers own the two companies). Both have real good quality items weather it’s tools, shoes, clothing,etc. etc…
It is rare for me to have to take an item back, because it did not perform as advertised or was poorly made.
The thing that I like the most is the large selection. If I need that odd size socket…or need to replace a lost one, I have the option to just buy that. At Tractor supply I have to buy the whole set.


Sears had a store in Downtown Oakland, mostly just as quiet and empty as others have described. It finally closed, and 6 months later Uber bought the building and is renovating the whole thing (6 floors!) and turning it into their headquarters. The only constant is change.

These must be in addition to the stores previously announced to close. I went into the local Kmart the day that closing was announced and couldn’t believe how many rows of shelves were already empty. Certainly the employees must have had a clue when shelves sit empty. Incidently an article in the paper today on how hard it is to find workers again so this might help. (I suspect though it was just a warm up to bus in more people from distressed areas.)

@VDCdriver, a TSC in Short Hills? I didn’t know you rich guys shopped at discount stores, especially farm stores. ; )

Nah, I don’t live in Short Hills!
I do shop occasionally (mostly window shopping) at the pricey mall in Short Hills, but I live in the considerably less-affluent Somerset Hills, and the TSC near me is in decidedly middle-class Hillsborough.

The best part about The Mall at Short Hills is visiting the Tesla showroom, and also being able to ogle the Rolls Royces, Bentleys, and Porsches that are on display in the middle of the mall. Really nice eye candy!

I’m familiar with Short Hills because a college chum lived there. His father owned an engineering company in Northern New Jersey and they could afford the high cost of living there. It used to be the cops would stop you if they didn’t recognize your car to see why you were in their fair town.