We visited a Sears store on the day the company filed for bankruptcy, and it felt like a ghost town. Here's what it was like shopping there.

sears 1348Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

  • Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday. The company says it will close 142 stores before the end of the year, and its CEO, Eddie Lampert, will step down.
  • The rise of e-commerce, declining foot traffic to malls, and a higher demand for off-price products are just some of the factors that have caused department stores to suffer in recent years, and Sears is no exception to that.
  • We visited a Sears store the day the company filed for bankruptcy, and it felt like the store had already been abandoned. Parts of the store were well-kempt, but others were disorganized and empty, and there was hardly anyone in sight.

Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday.

The company says it will close 142 stores before the end of the year, and its CEO, Eddie Lampert, will step down.

Sears has been closing stores and selling off assets following years of crippling sales declines. The company currently operates 687 Sears and Kmart stores, according to its bankruptcy filing. That's down from nearly 2,000 stores in 2013.

The rise of e-commerce, declining foot traffic to malls, and a higher demand for off-price products are just some of the factors that have caused department stores as a category to suffer in recent years.

"The problem in Sears' case is that it is a poor retailer. Put bluntly, it has failed on every facet of retailing from assortment to service to merchandise to basic shop-keeping standards," said Neil Saunders, the managing director of GlobalData Retail.

When we visited a Sears store the day the company filed for bankruptcy, it felt like the store had already been abandoned. Parts of the store were well-kempt, but others were disorganized and empty, and there was hardly anyone in sight.

Here's what it was like:

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We went to a Sears store in Jersey City, New Jersey.

We went to a Sears store in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The store seemed like it was in pretty good shape at first glance.

The store seemed like it was in pretty good shape at first glance.

Women's clothing was the first department at the front of the store.

Women's clothing was the first department at the front of the store.

Most things in the store appeared to be on sale.

Most things in the store appeared to be on sale.

Everything seemed to be in order, but it was totally empty.

Everything seemed to be in order, but it was totally empty.

There were no shoppers — or employees — in sight throughout most of the first floor.

There were no shoppers — or employees — in sight throughout most of the first floor.

The store got messier as I went further back. There were a lot of boxes left sitting around.

The store got messier as I went further back. There were a lot of boxes left sitting around.

A lot of accessory racks were half-empty ...

A lot of accessory racks were half-empty ...

... and some displays had nothing on them at all.

... and some displays had nothing on them at all.

The first floor also had a small men's department ...

The first floor also had a small men's department ...

... and a kids' department that took up a good amount of the floor.

... and a kids' department that took up a good amount of the floor.

Most of the signs throughout the store were handwritten.

Most of the signs throughout the store were handwritten.

Downstairs, I found home furnishings and appliances.

Downstairs, I found home furnishings and appliances.

It was eerily quiet downstairs as well.

It was eerily quiet downstairs as well.

The men's department continued downstairs ...

The men's department continued downstairs ...

... but parts of it were in pretty sad shape. A lot of displays were set up on metal folding tables instead of the more sturdy displays that were set up throughout the rest of the store.

... but parts of it were in pretty sad shape. A lot of displays were set up on metal folding tables instead of the more sturdy displays that were set up throughout the rest of the store.

And some mannequins were just leaned against the wall instead of being propped up.

And some mannequins were just leaned against the wall instead of being propped up.

Home-improvement products were also on this floor. A handful of products were marked as the last in stock.

Home-improvement products were also on this floor. A handful of products were marked as the last in stock.

The rest of the floor was a bit of a mess.

The rest of the floor was a bit of a mess.

There was a pile of bricks just sitting in the middle of the floor ...

There was a pile of bricks just sitting in the middle of the floor ...

... and products like refrigerators were in random spots instead of in the appliances department.

... and products like refrigerators were in random spots instead of in the appliances department.

The clearance department as a whole was lackluster. There were not a lot of products, and what was left was spread out to make it seem like there was more.

The clearance department as a whole was lackluster. There were not a lot of products, and what was left was spread out to make it seem like there was more.

Even the holiday and toy departments felt empty. I only passed one employee the entire time I was in the store. The store felt abandoned.

Even the holiday and toy departments felt empty. I only passed one employee the entire time I was in the store. The store felt abandoned.

Even though the store was in relatively good shape compared to some other Sears stores, it felt like a ghost town.

Even though the store was in relatively good shape compared to some other Sears stores, it felt like a ghost town.
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