Sears just got another depressing sign it is doomed

Hayley Peterson
Sears, Kmart Closing Stores to Cut Costs
Sears, Kmart Closing Stores to Cut Costs

Sears is losing some of its most loyal customers.

The department store has traditionally attracted female shoppers aged 55 years and older, but that demographic is now choosing to shop elsewhere, according to a recent study by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

In fact, most women would now rather shop at Goodwill than at Sears, according to the survey.

"Quite literally, Sears shoppers are a dying breed," Pam Goodfellow, an analyst for Prosper Insights & Analytics, writes in Forbes.

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In women's clothing alone, the share of shoppers who prefer Sears has dropped 53% from January 2006 to January 2016, the survey found.

Sears is also losing considerable ground in categories like sporting goods, linens and bedding, home improvement, and electronics.

It's a "dire" situation for Sears, according to Goodfellow. As older shoppers leave Sears, the company is failing to attract new, younger customers, she writes.

"Sears' biggest shopper losses have come from what was once was its core customer base: those 55 and over," Goodfellow writes. "Adding to Sears' woes are dramatic declines among those 18-34 and 35-54 as well, pointing to a very bleak outlook for Sears' future."

Sears has acknowledged some of its troubles in advertising. The retailer mocked its own empty parking lots in a 2013 ad geared toward millennials.

We reached out to the company for comment on the Prosper survey and will update when we hear back.

Sears' same-stores sales have fallen for the past five years, including a 10.1% drop in the first three quarters of 2015 compared to the same period a year earlier.

The department store chain has been closing hundreds of stores and the stock has lost 50% of its value in the last year.

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