Brands Unite In Sears/Kmart Deal
By George Anderson
When shareholders of Sears, Roebuck and Co. vote tomorrow to approve the retailer’s merger with Kmart and form Sears Holdings Corp., they will be betting that the combined appeal
of brands, such as Martha Stewart and Craftsman, are strong enough to create one successful retailer where two unsuccessful ones previously existed.
According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Sears Holdings will look to build on the established image of exclusive brands, such as Ms. Stewart’s, Craftsman, Kenmore,
DieHard, Joe Boxer and Jaclyn Smith, with proprietary labels, such as Lucy Pereda and Thalia Sodi, targeted at Latinos and African Americans.
To improve upon the less-than-spectacular performance of the past, industry experts believe Sears Holdings will need to significantly improve its in-store merchandising performance
and create a more compelling media campaign to attract shoppers.
Customer service, particularly in hard lines, is also essential to keep customers from moving to brand alternatives sold elsewhere.
According to the Sun-Times, many believe Sears’ top merchandising exec, Luis Padilla, will be given the task of putting the polish on Sears Holdings’ stores and public
image campaign. Mr. Padilla came to Sears via Marshall Field’s and, before that, Target.
Moderator’s Comment: How strong are the exclusive brands of Sears and Kmart? Do they make sense under one roof? Are the brands’ equity strong enough
that, with competent merchandising and promotion, Sears Holdings can be successful? –
George Anderson – Moderator