Former Sears spokesman Ty Pennington on the retailer's decline

By Personal Finance23FOXBusiness

“Extreme Makeover” host Ty Pennington said its “tough” to see retail giant Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) struggle to survive after being a national spokesman for the brand for several years.

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“When I was working with Sears, they were doing amazing. [We had] one of the most successful home furnishing lines out there,” Pennington told FOX Business. “However, you know the advertising money just went away.”

In 2004, the former carpenter and design guru signed an exclusive, multi-year agreement with the retailer in a wide-ranging deal that included advertising, product design, development, merchandising and support for the company’s community outreach initiatives.

“I’ve collected Sears memorabilia which I call Americano, most of my life, because you need to remember that it was the biggest store of everything for Americans and it’s just tough to see something like that wane away because to me that is what I grew up with,” he added.

Sears Holdings has struggled in recent years to adapt to consumers’ shift to online purchases. In 2017, it closed down more than 250 store locations with an additional 39 store closures announced this year. In January, the company also said it plans to lay off over 220 workers primarily at its headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, as it continues to look for ways to turn around its ailing business.

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But Pennington said it’s not just about Sears. All big-box retailers and small businesses are feeling the heat and need to adapt to changes and focus on what makes them different.

“If you really want your business to be successful, you really need to focus on what makes it you. What about your personality goes into that product and if it’s a business side that you’re not good at, have someone else do that. Focus on the part that your best at which keeps people coming back.”

In a statement to FOX Business, a Sears spokesperson said while it “no longer carries Ty Pennington licensed merchandise in its stores or online,” his merchandise is still available on Sears.com via its marketplace.

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