Sears Takes Over Where Penney Told Designer to Get Off

Apr 01, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

In marketing financial products, investors are always advised that past performance is not an indicator of future results.

Past performance was clearly not an impediment for Sears Holdings as it signed an exclusive deal to sell the Parallel women’s clothing brand online and in 150 of its stores just months after J.C. Penney discontinued the same line for slow sales.

The Parallel fashion line from French designer BCBG Max Azria is targeted to women 18 to 35 who are looking for the latest styles at reasonable prices. Sears hopes the new women’s line will help it improve its image and sales outside its core 30 to 55 years old base.

Gwendolyn Manto, Sears’ general manager of apparel, told the Chicago Sun-Times, “BCBG is a hot fashion brand. It will be the leading edge of fashion for Sears. It’s a design fashion that a broad spectrum of women can wear.”

Morningstar retail analyst Kim Picciola said, “Apparel has been down and out in recent years at Sears, so anything that’s fashionable yet affordable is a move in the right direction.”

“It remains to be seen whether consumers react to this brand. Maybe those consumers have already left the store,” she said.

Moderator’s Comment: Will the second time and a new store be the charm for the Parallel line? Is having the brand available in its stores and exclusive
to Sears enough to bring women in the targeted 18 to 35 year old group into Sears’ stores or shopping on

George Anderson – Moderator

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3 Comments on "Sears Takes Over Where Penney Told Designer to Get Off"

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Gene Hoffman
Gene Hoffman
15 years 10 months ago

I’m hardly an expert on this question, but I will share the thought that sprung into my mind when I read the lead-in:
“Second-hand Rose ….”

Carol Spieckerman
15 years 10 months ago

Since the brand was launched at Penney’s, I’ve had more difficulty “remembering” that Azria was behind it than with other designer sub-brands. Not sure why that is but I can’t see how Sears will do a better job with the brand. That said, Parallel is not a particularly “young” line and perhaps it became a less desirable duplication next to Bisou Bisou at Penney’s. It might look downright trendy and forward next to Lands’ End!

Mark Raymond
Mark Raymond
15 years 1 month ago

Sears is known for their hardlines. They should get out of clothing altogether. Let Kmart handle the off-price clothing segment of the business. Sears needs to enlarge its market share in consumer electronics, tools, and appliances and forget about selling trendy clothing. The clothing retail market is oversaturated as it is.


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