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*Update, Sunday morning, March 16, 2014: See the latest from Sears, including the condition of its Craftsman and Home sections in the same South LA mall home to disarray at Walmart.

*Update, Monday morning, January 6, 2014: For further context, please read the author's response to Sears and the controversy this article triggered, Sears: A National Tragedy.

**Updated from 4:06 p.m., EST w/ Brian Sozzi images from J. C. Penney (JCP) - Get J. C. Penney Company, Inc. Report on Page Two and official response from Sears VP of Corporate Communications via Twitter as well as images from a Sears store in Santa Monica, CA, on Page Three. 

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here's an update I wanted to put up top to ensure you saw it -- official response from Sears VP of Corporate Communications Chris Brathwaite followed by a request for reader participation: 

If you are near or can be near a Sears and are so inclined, head over and take some pictures. Be random. Don't just look for the bad ones. Send them to me via email ( or on Twitter, @Rocco_TheStreet

TheStreet's Brian Sozzi, also known as Belus Capital Advisors CEO, is roaming a Sears Holdings (SHLD) flagship store in New York as we speak. And, as was the case during the run-up to the holiday shopping season, the images he's posting on Twitter (TWTR) - Get Twitter, Inc. Report are nothing short of pathetic:

I'm convinced Sozzi is no longer safe inside a Sears store.

Sozzi also posted some images from Best Buy (BBY) - Get Best Buy Co., Inc. Report, which, comparatively speaking, looks much spiffier than Sears. In this shot, Brian passes along the nugget that fitness tracker gadgets were indeed a hot item over the holidays:

Based on subsequent images Sozzi posted to his Twitter account, things don't look much better at JCP:

Triggered by the response from Sears, I decided to go do some man-on-the-scene picture taking myself. 

Now, to be fair, I went over to the Sears store near where I live in Santa Monica and, while as soulless as any other big box/department store retail experience, the place appeared mostly tidy.

Granted, it's located next to some seriously high-end retail in the downtown area of Santa Monica. We're talking everything from Bloomingdales to Nordstrom (JWN) - Get Nordstrom, Inc. (JWN) Report at the newish Santa Monica Place to everything from Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report to Lululemon (LULU) - Get Lululemon Athletica Inc (LULU) Report along the Third Street Promenade.

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Plus it's housed in a historic building, typical of old school LA architecture:

But I reckon, this ender by Brian Sozzi is pretty close to, if not the truth:

Follow @rocco_thestreet

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is a columnist for


. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as




as well as

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. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.