Photos of Decrepit Sears Spark Twitter Spat

In another incident that shows the power of social media to quickly disseminate information and damage a brand, photos of disorganized and neglected post-holiday Sears stores have led its corporate spokesman and a retail analyst to get into a heated spat on Twitter.

On Jan. 4, Brian Sozzi, CEO and chief equities strategist of Belus Capital Advisors, posted pictures on Twitter that showed post-holiday Sears stores in a state of disrepair.

Sozzi’s photos ended up on TheStreet.com, where he is a contributor, under the title “More Pathetic Pictures From a Dying Sears, JCP.” Eventually, the publicity over the photos prompted the company’s vice president of corporate communications to respond—also on Twitter.

“We operate nearly 2,000 stores,” wrote Sears vice president of corporate communications Chris Brathwaite. Select photos are not representative of the whole…. You can go into any retailer on any given day and find issues.

At one point, he did write: “I never suggested our performance is where we’d like it to be. But we are in the midst of a transformation.” Still, when other Tweeters took sides in the spat, Braithwate took personal shots at Sozzi.

“I can take constructive suggestions,” Braithwate wrote at one point, “but Sozzi uses cheap shots to increase his Klout score.” That was followed up by: “We can’t let the shorts and others with an agenda simply take uncontested shots at us.” He also added: “For someone who claims to be ‘protecting people’ he doesnt seem to care about the employees of these stores.”

This led Sozzi to post a response of his own, on his website.

“Both the Twitter response, and the response by Sears HQ, are two things I have never seen, or been exposed to, before in my life/career, he wrote

Later on Twitter, Sozzi asked his followers to relate their own experiences with Sears. Some negative ones were retweeted.

Braithwaite told the Huffington Post he felt he had to respond.

“I can’t just let these things go unchallenged,” he said. “Balance dictates that our voice needs to be in the discussion.”

 

JCK News Director