Fortune

APPLIANCES: SQUANDERING A HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE

Why homeowners stopped building their kitchens and their credit histories at Sears.
A Sears appliance-service repairman in Temple City, Calif., circa 1958.

FOR DECADES, Sears was homeowners’ go-to place for big-ticket appliances like washing machines and ovens. In 2001 it commanded 41% of the U.S. appliance market; as

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