Sears presents Christmas in July…literally!

Today’s Retail Wire panel discussion focuses on Sears Holdings’ rollout of Christmas-themed shops in several hundred stores in early July, as an expansion of its layaway tactic in Sears and Kmart stores. I question the timing of this move and consumers’ likely reaction to it:

Layaway is turning out to be an effective tactic for Sears Holdings, judging from the expansion of the program from Kmart to Sears stores and into new product categories. But this one is a head-scratcher: Most customers finding Christmas-themed merchandise before the stores have fully converted for BTS are likely to respond, “What were they thinking?”

There needs to be some relevance between the stores’ layaway program and appropriately-timed merchandise content. Consumers have increasingly turned away from retailers who “transition” too early, whether in apparel or in holiday-themed goods. Maybe the results will prove me wrong, but this feels like the merchants at Sears continuing to grasp for any sort of answer.

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