468 Retail and Channel Management Blog

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sears: Facing the Facelift

In late 2016, Sears Canada gave itself a new look. Along with a new logo and website, store layout changes have been made so that gone are the days of tall displays, outdated mannequins, and shelves that fill the store with gaping holes of emptiness.

The theme of the makeover seems to be “newness”. Some characteristics of the new layout include black displays on wheels, more dynamic and complete-looking mannequins, and finished with a polished concrete floors. All these features allow executives to easily make adjustments, which can translate to something “new and exciting for a customer” states company chairman Brandon Stranzl.

Sears’ new store format is also said to have taken pages out of the playbooks of Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW), and Marshalls, all of whom Stranzl considers “the best in the business.” Some departments of the new Sears’ have been influenced by these stores. 

A look inside

I think these kinds of changes for Sears are definitely backed up by good ideas. Comfortable shopping is achieved by mimicking concepts of other retailers. Layouts that resemble other stores that their customer demographic also goes to definitely gives a better sense of familiarity. Ultimately, it can help Sears become a more familiar option in the minds of many.  

At the same time, there is no trace of the old Sears. It seems like Sears has applied the Inverted U idea on the larger, brand level. The contrasting new look of Sears is enough to stir some curiosity in consumers, but not enough to drive them away from being too foreign. In this new makeover, also known as “WTS (What The Sears)”, customers will continue to find low prices in the large retail store Sears was known as. Hopefully these changes will not just be for show.

Just not the same.

I do not think looks alone will be enough to turn Sears back into the retail giant it once was. Nowadays convenience is quite a big factor that can make a store significantly more favourable to customers. As for Sears, customers may choose other stores, such as Amazon, which offers convenience in having no need to step into a store; or Walmart, which offers convenience through having a greater selection of products all in one place. Sears needs to find a way to offer customers a better value for choosing them along with their decent pricing and selection; have something new to complement that new look.

In the third quarter ended October 29 just this past year, Sears has reported to experience a 7% drop in same-store sales, doubling its net loss. However, it is expected that there will be more to come, as Stranzl states that there is “a process of constant innovation to deliver better products and experiences.” If Sears can go beyond just the looks and find other ways to improve shopping experience, it can definitely put them further in the right direction. 



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