Sears (SHLD) may be in trouble now with hundreds of stores facing closure and the fate of the entire company very much in doubt, but it's been through bad times before.
Consider the case of its trademark Craftsman tool brand. Before you could just snap them up at any Ace Hardware, Craftsman was one of Sears' big draws and its finest example of durable American products.
That little fable was all well and good until 2004, when a class-action suit accused Craftsman of not living up to its "Made in the USA" label. The suit accused Sears of using metal parts from Austria, Denmark, China, India and Mexico in its Craftsman products. That's a big no-no when the Federal Trade Commission says goods can be called American-made only if they're made entirely in the U.S. or made in the U.S. with an overwhelming majority of U.S.-made parts.The claimants lost not because they were wrong, but because they failed to prove any injury from the mislabeling. While a whole lot of Craftsman products are still made in the U.S., some Craftsman products are now labeled "Made in China."
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