Sears Takes Steps (Fashion) Forward
A series of announcements over the past month could give
someone the impression that Sears Holdings is serious about improving its standing
in the apparel and accessories business.
Sears recently launched its "The
Many Sides of Me" campaign to begin
positioning the department store as a fashion destination.
"We have executed
against a range of initiatives tied to our strategic pillars that have improved
our relevance to customers, including engaging them on a personal level," said
Scott Freidheim, executive vice president, operating and support businesses
for Sears Holdings, in a statement. "With this launch, we’re
on a path to ‘Feminize, Energize and Digitize’ the Sears soft side brand positioning."
this month, the Chicago Tribune reported Sears planned to remodel
clothing departments in 200 stores in the Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and
Washington, D.C. markets. The company has come under criticism in the past
for failing to put needed dollars into stores to improve the shopping experience.
also announced a deal to sell an exclusive line of women’s, men’s and children’s
clothing under the UK Style by French Connection brand. The brand will be
available in 500 Sears stores beginning in the first quarter of 2001. It will
also be available on Sears.com.
John Goodman, executive vice president of apparel
and home for Sears Holdings, said in a statement, "This addition to our
brand portfolio will significantly increase our relevance among younger customers
while strengthening our effort to re-energize our fashion offerings at Sears."
Sears.com looked overseas for
another exclusive deal. This week the company announced it had partnered with
NEXT, a popular fashion retailer in the U.K., to sell its clothing, shoes and
"Whether you’re shopping online or in-store, Sears
continues to offer credible brands for customers," said Imran Jooma, president
of e-commerce at Sears Holdings, in a statement. "By bringing must-have
fashion statements from brands like NEXT, our customers will be able to shop
for international styles, all in one place at Sears."
Also soon to be found at a Sears in Costa Mesa, Calif. is a Forever 21. The
Wall Street Journal reported that Sears had agreed to lease about 15
percent of its store space for Forever 21 to operate a store-within-the-store.
Michael Dart, senior partner at Kurt Salmon Associates, told the Journal, "For
some time, Sears has been managed to conserve cash, and has not seen a lot of
investment in upgrading its stores or providing a good shopping experience, particularly
for a younger, trendier consumer." The addition of Forever 21, he said, "brings
a new vibe and is something of a crowd draw."
Sears is expected to explore more such deals.
"We want to optimize and leverage our real estate portfolio to third-party
tenants," Kimberly Freely, a spokesperson for Sears, told the Journal.
Discussion Question: Is Sears Holdings on the right path with its soft
- Sears is moving fashion forward – Chicago Tribune
- Sears Announces UK Style by French Connection; Exclusive Union a Major Step
Forward for Sears Contemporary Fashion – Sears Holdings Corporation/PRNewswire
- Sears’ French Connection matchup aims to lure new shoppers – Crain’s Chicago
- Sears Celebrates Style & Music With the Introduction of Now + Here – Sears
- Sears.com Becomes Exclusive U.S. Retailer for NEXT – U.K.’s Popular Clothing
Company – Sears Holdings Corporation/PRNewswire