Sears Big Holiday Wish is Profitability
By George Anderson
Brit Beemer, founder and chairman of America’s Research Group, said retailers have one of two ways they can go this holiday season. “You can be promotional, give up some profit and get a lot of shoppers, or not be as promotional, not get as many shoppers and lose a lot of money,” he told Crain’s Chicago Business.
According to many retail industry watchers, Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney have gone the first route with aggressive discounts and stepped up advertising schedules.
Taking the less traveled path has been Sears. “Some observers,” reports Crain’s, ” interpret the strategy as another sign that Sears Chairman Edward Lampert is throwing in the towel on retail.”
Mr. Lampert and company would probably take issue with that notion, suggesting as he did in a letter sent to shareholders earlier in the year that it is profitability not sales that matter most.
“In the past, too often our predecessor companies pursued higher sales and accepted lower profits to meet objectives that, we believe, did not increase the value of the companies. We will need to focus our management, our associates and our vendors on the goals of creating value rather than solely building market share or sales.”
Sears did offer a $10 gift card to the first 200 customers that visited each of its stores. A company spokesperson called the promotion “hugely popular” with Sears’ shoppers.
Same-store-sales at Sears were down eight percent for the first 11 months of the year compared to a national average gain of 3.9 percent for all stores.
Moderator’s Comment: Is Sears right to join the discounting pack this holiday season? Are others sacrificing profitability in pursuit of sales and market
George Anderson – Moderator