Rest in Peace.
A decade from now people will still be pontificating over the postmortem.
My take on the situation is that Sears was doomed after they were purchased by K-Mart. In a rational world, that would be a non-starter, but in a world fueled by universal access-to-financing the drowning weak-sister can buy the fit athlete and stand on their head.
K-Mart's pathologies were legion. Too many leases in the wrong places. Paying too much for rent. Using point-of-sale information systems in the crudest possible ways. Failure to exploit lean inventory strategies. Failure to keep hot selling merchandise on the shelves.
Sears, on the other hand, had awesome goodwill and a solid customer base. They were sucked dry as a cash-cow to poof up K-Mart and were stuck in legacy locations with decaying demographics.
Sears did not elevate K-Mart. K-Mart dragged Sears down.
Sears teetered on the brink of greatness with Discover and their own credit card. Oh, so close. But no cigar.