Sears’ “strategies du jour”

Retail Wire panelists were asked today to comment on two new strategies at Sears: The addition of layaway, and the “KidsVantage” program that guarantees product against unusual wear and tear. I’ve been critical of Sears in the past, because they are not addressing the fundamental problems with their business, and today is no exception:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Sears’ latest competitive moves are attempts to paper over the reality of their tired-looking stores and assortments. Layaway by itself isn’t a bad idea, and it differentiates Sears from its more upscale competitors like JCPenney and Kohl’s — both of whom have more compelling merchandise stories to tell. But it’s no substitute for fixing the fundamental problems with the business while the company continues its endless search for a new (and newly empowered) CEO.

As to the KidsAdvantage program: What retailer with any sense would prevent a customer from returning shoddy goods for credit? And why would Sears even want to draw attention to the fact that its kids’ clothing might not stand up to normal wear and tear?


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