Sears Holdings Corporation


Sears Holdings Corporation NASDAQ: SHLD is the third largest retailer in the United States, behind Wal-Mart and The Home Depot. It was formed in 2005 by the purchase of Sears, Roebuck and Company of Hoffman Estates, Illinois by Kmart Corporation of Troy, Michigan.

The company operates 3,800 retail locations under the mastheads of Sears, Sears Grand, Sears Essentials, Kmart, Big Kmart, Kmart SuperCenter, The Great Indoors, Orchard Supply Hardware, and Lands' End stores.

The company maintains its corporate headquarters in Hoffman Estates, and it maintains the Kmart brand from Michigan.

History

Kmart

The current Kmart logo

Sebastian S. Kresge founded the S.S. Kresge Corporation, the predecessor of Kmart, in 1899 in Detroit, Michigan. Kresge's first retail establishment, a five-and-ten-cent store, resembled those operated by Frank Woolworth. The store grew into a chain known as S. S. Kresge. By 1912, the chain operated 85 stores.

By the 1920s, Kresge operated larger stores that offered a wider variety of merchandise and prices—precursors of the modern discount store. The first Kmart department store opened in 1962 in Garden City, Michigan. A total of 18 Kmart stores opened that year. Kmart Foods, a long forgotten, now defunct chain of Kmart supermarkets opened in in that same decade.

Kmart became known for its "blue light specials": at surprise moments, a store worker would light up a mobile police light and offer a discount in a part of the store. The phrase "attention Kmart shoppers" also entered into the American pop psyche. Kmart was also featured in the Oscar-winning 1988 film Rain Man, in which Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman both famously exclaim, "Kmart sucks!"

During the 1970s, Kmart put a number of competing retailers out of business. In 1977, S. S. Kresge Corporation changed its name to Kmart Corporation. In 1987, Kmart Corporation sold its remaining Kresge stores.

The first Big Kmart opened in 1996. The first Super Kmart Center opened in 1991 in Medina, Ohio.

Trouble For Kmart

K-Mart store 4018, located in Dubuque, Iowa. This is the oldest K-Mart in Iowa.

During the 1970s, the company's fortunes began to change; many of Kmart's stores were badly outdated and in decaying condition. Inventory piled up, checkout lines grew, and customers abandoned the stores.

In 1990, in an effort to change their image, Kmart introduced a new logo (dropping the old-style italic "K" with a turquoise "mart", created in the early 1970s), and gave many stores a very badly needed renovation. However, most stores were not remodeled until the mid-1990s, some of which are not completely renovated today. This then-new logo was replaced in 2004 with the current logo.

It also began to offer exclusive merchandise by Martha Stewart, Kathy Ireland, and Jaclyn Smith. Other recognizable brands included Sesame Street and Disney. Rosie O'Donnell and Penny Marshall were among the company's most-recognized spokespersons.

In the 1990s, Kmart made a number of missteps, again. In 1993 Kmart closed 110 stores. Unlike competitor Wal-Mart, it failed to invest in computer technology to manage its supply chain. Furthermore, Kmart maintained a high dividend, which reduced the amount of money available for improving its stores. Many business analysts also faulted the corporation for failing to create a coherent brand image.

The lime green prototype logo. This logo is only used at five prototype Kmart locations nationwide.

The original "blue light special" had disappeared in 1991 due to changing consumer habits and misuse by individual stores (according to the company's official explanation). The company then brought back the "blue light special", which involved the manager announcing a promotion in-store every hour, on the hour—said special lasting for 25 minutes. When the announcement of the special took place over the public address system, music would fill the store and all employees would stop their current actions, clap twice and pump their fists in the air, shouting "Blue Light, Blue Light!". This scheme aimed to generate more interest in Kmart from shoppers and the media, but failed because stores did not follow the procedure. No records exist of anyone actually shouting "Blue Light, Blue Light!" It has since ended the "blue light special" again.

In 2001, the stock scandal involving Martha Stewart severely hurt the corporation's image. In addition, Kmart attempted to compete against Wal-Mart on price by introducing the "Blue Light Always" campaign, which ditched the original blue light concept for lower prices in general. The company could simply not afford to match Wal-Mart's prices. In August 2001, Target Corporation sued Kmart for false advertising; Target claimed that its "Dare to Compare" campaign routinely misstated both Kmart's and Target's prices.

On January 22, 2002, Kmart filed for bankruptcy protection; led into the bankruptcy by its then chairman Chuck Conaway and president Mark Schwartz. Similar to the Enron scandal, Conway and Schwartz were accused of misleading shareholders and other company officials of the company's financial crisis, while they were allegedly making millions and allegedly spending the company's money on planes, houses, boats, and other luxuries.

After firing Conaway and Schwartz, It shut down more than 300 stores in the United States and laid off around 34,000 workers as part of a badly-needed restructuring. On May 6, 2003, Kmart officially emerged from bankruptcy protection as Kmart Holding Corporation and on June 10, 2003 it began trading on the NASDAQ as "KMRT". Kmart introduced 5 then new prototype stores with a new logo, layout and color scheme (lime green and gray) in 2002 with one in White Lake, Michigan and four in Peoria, Illinois. The new layout has wider aisles, better selection and better lighting. However, Kmart could not afford a full-scale rollout. The lime green prototype was abandoned for the new Kmart "Orange" concept that rolled out at 9 test stores nationwide.

Once a major presence in Canada, after being sold to Zellers in the late 1990s, which was subsequently bought by the Hudson's Bay Company, all Kmart stores there were either closed or converted to the Zellers name.

Sears

Sears logo

In 1886, the United States contained only 38 states. Many people lived in rural areas and typically farmed. Richard Sears was a railroad station agent in Minnesota when he received a shipment of watches which were unwanted by a local jeweler. Sears purchased them himself, and sold the watches at a nice profit to other station agents up and down the line, and then ordered more for resale. Soon he started a business selling watches. The next year, he moved to Chicago, Illinois where he met Alvah C. Roebuck who joined him in the business. In 1893, the corporate name became Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Richard Sears knew that farmers often brought their crops to town where they could be sold and shipped, and then bought supplies, often at very high prices, from local general stores. The catalog business grew quickly. By 1894, the Sears catalog had grown to 322 pages, featuring sewing machines, bicycles, sporting goods and a host of other new items. Organizing the company so it could handle orders on an economical and efficient basis, Chicago clothing manufacturer Julius Rosenwald became a part-owner in 1895. Alvah Roebuck had to resign soon after due to ill-health, but the company still retained his name. By the following year, dolls, icebox refrigerators, cook-stoves and groceries had been added to the catalog.

Sears, Roebuck and Co. soon developed a reputation for both quality products and customer satisfaction.

People had learned to trust Sears for other products bought mail-order, and thus, sight unseen. This laid important groundwork for supplying a home, possibly the largest single investment a typical family would ever make. In 1908, the company began offering entire houses as kits, marketed as Sears Modern Homes, and by the time the program ended in 1940, over 100,000 had been sold.

A Sears store

Sears issued many catalogs and didn't open its first retail store until 1925, when the business was already 32 years old. The first free standing department store was opened October 5, 1925 in Evansville, Indiana. In addition to mail-order or rail shipment of large purchases, items could also be picked up at the Sears Store in a nearby town when retail outlets were opened.

The Sears, Roebuck catalog was sometimes referred to as "the Consumers' Bible." The Christmas Catalog was known as the "Wish Book", perhaps because of the toys in it. The catalog also entered the language, particularly of rural dwellers, as a euphemism for toilet paper. In the days of outhouses and no readily available toilet paper, the pages of the mass-mailed catalog were used as toilet paper. "I'm going to read the Sears catalog" was a polite way of saying "I'm going to the outhouse."

After World War II, the company built many stores in suburban shopping malls. The company was the largest retailer in the United States until the early 1980s but had dropped significantly in rankings by the time it merged with Kmart.

Sears diversified and became a conglomerate during the mid-20th century. It established several major brands of products such as Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard, and Tuff-skin. The company started the Allstate Insurance Company back in 1931 and had representatives operating in its stores as early as 1934. It purchased Dean Witter and Coldwell Banker real estate in 1981, and started what became Prodigy as a joint venture in 1984. It also introduced the Discover credit card in 1985. During the late 1980s, and as late as 1993, the Discover card was the only accepted credit card at many Sears retail locations.

Roebuck was dropped from the name of the stores, though not from the official corporate name in the 1970s.

The current Sears logo was created in 1984. Previously, the Sears logo consisted of the name "Sears" in a rectangle. Now it consists of the blue text, Sears, with a white line separating each letter down along the length of its strokes. In late 2004, the logo was switched from all upper case to upper and lower case.

In 2004, Sears launched a new store concept called Sears Grand which it hopes will be a viable competitor to hypermarkets like Wal-Mart Supercenters.

Sears formerly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker of "S", which is now used by the Sprint Nextel Corporation.

Trouble for Sears

Adam Walsh, the son of reporter John Walsh (America's Most Wanted), was abducted from a Sears department store in Hollywood, Florida, in 1981 at the age of six; his severed head was later found in Vero Beach, FL. Wal-Mart responded by creating Code Adam procedures to protect children that are in the store, whereas Sears initially ignored the risk, hoping it would go away on its own. This led to public opposition to Sears' policies, and alienated customers.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the company divested themselves of many non-retail entities, which were creating a burden on the company's bottom line.

Sears logo (1984 – 2004)

In 1993, Sears stopped production of its general merchandise catalog because of sinking sales and profits. However, Sears Holdings does continue to produce speciality catalogs and the Holiday Wish Book.

In 2003, they sold their retail credit card operation to Citibank because the credit cards were draining profits from the company. The remaining card operations was sold to J.P. Morgan Chase in August 2005.

In the early 1980s, Sears ceased selling shotguns, which had previously even been sold under their internal J. C. Higgins sporting brand from 1908 until 1961, and this alienated them from their historical core of rural and working-class consumers.

In the late 1990s, the company's market share in many areas deteriorated rapidly as Wal-Mart drew away working-class consumers, and Federated Department Stores attracted wealthier consumers. Sears has also been shouldered with the problem of keeping a sound legal basis for its actions. A number of class action lawsuits have been prepared and successfully won against the company.[1]

Sears Tower

Sears, Roebuck and Company built the famed Sears Tower, which was completed in 1974. This building, located in Chicago, is the tallest building in the United States. The company no longer owns the building.

Merger of Kmart and Sears

On November 17, 2004, Kmart Corporation announced its intentions to purchase Sears, Roebuck and Company; the purchase was billed as a merger of equals. As a part of the merger, Kmart Corporation would change its name to Sears Holdings Corporation. It announced at the time that it would continue operate stores under both the Sears and Kmart brands.

The two companies cited several reasons for combining forces:

  • Sears had begun investing in new, larger off-mall stores, called Sears Grand stores. Earlier in the year Sears had purchased dozens of current Kmart locations; the merger permited the combined company to accelerate that process.
  • Proprietary brands held by both companies could be made more accessible to their target demographics by leveraging their combined real estate holdings. This was estimated to be an expected $200 million a year in revenue synergies.
  • At least $300 million a year in cost savings was expected annually, particularly in the supply chain and in administrative overhead.
  • The establishment of a shared customer-focused corporate culture between the two companies was estimated to yield improvements in revenue per unit area.
  • Preservation of two brands after the merger allowed Sears Holdings to continue focusing on different customer demographics, without alienating either group.

The new company would directed by a board of directors comprised of members from the two companies: seven members from Kmart's board, three from Sears'. Shareholders in Kmart Corporation received one share in the new company. Shares of Sears, Roebuck and Company stock was converted into a combination of 55% stock and 45% cash (at $50 a share). Stockholders had a choice of receiving either stock or cash, subject to the pre-defined ratio.

The merger was completed on March 24, 2005, after receiving regulatory approval from the government and approval by shareholders of both companies.

Sears Holdings today

Sears Holdings continues to operate stores under the Sears and Kmart mastheads. In 2005, Sears introduced a new store format, called Sears Essentials; Some Kmart locations are to be converted to the Sears Essentials format, while new locations will also be built. This new store format combines the Sears store concept with the Kmart format, which allows the company to better compete with Wal-Mart and Target.

In 2005, Nike announced that it would no longer allow its products to be sold in Sears stores. Analysts speculated that Nike did not want its shoes and apparel sold in Kmart stores, and terminated its sales agreement with Sears Holdings to prevent this.

Sears Holdings has began cross-selling merchandise between its two brands. For example, Craftsman tools are now available in Kmart stores; they were previously exclusive to the Sears brand.

Sears Holdings owns 55% of Sears Canada, a large department store chain in Canada, similar to the U.S. stores. Like Target stores, Kmart-branded stores in Australia belong to Coles Myer; Coles Myer also holds the rights to the Kmart brand in New Zealand.

Because Kmart Corporation changed its name to Sears Holdings and because it is converting some Big Kmart stores to Sears Essentials stores as a test, there is speculation that Sears Holdings may drop the Kmart name entirely in the next decade.

Stores

  • Kmart: discount stores (usually free-standing or located in strip malls) that carry electronics, music, movies, bedding, hardware, sporting goods, clothing, toys, jewelry, office supplies, health and beauty products, home décor, and a limited selection of food. Many stores also have a pharmacy and snack bar. About 84,000 to 100,000 square feet (7,800 to 9,300 m²).
  • Big Kmart: Carries everything a regular Kmart carries, but with a emphasis on home decor, children's clothing, and more food items. About 84,000 to 120,000 square feet (7,800 to 11,000 m²). Big Kmart stores also feature Garden Shop, and Kcafe or Little Caesar's Pizza station. Sears Holdings no longer builds these stores, but many Kmarts are still signed as Big Kmart or Big K. Many were changed back to plain Kmart or closed.
  • Super Kmart: Carries everything a regular Kmart carries, but has a full grocery section with meat, bakery, and deli. SuperCenters are about 140,000 to 190,000 square feet (13,000 to 18,000 m²). These stores are also known as Super Kmart, Super K, and Super Kmart Center. Several also include Kmart Express gas stations.
  • Sears: department store concept that is located in shopping malls; it carries clothing, jewelry, appliances, hardware, lawn and garden supplies, lawn mowers, paint, sporting goods and automobile repair and supplies. Sears stores are usually multi-level, and there are about 870 full-size Sears stores.
  • Kmart Foods: Kmart Foods was a grocery store that was found in 1962. Most Kmart Foods were together with K-Mart stores. They all closed in 1970s. The brand was reinvented in 1991 with K-Mart's launch of the Super K-Mart Center concept.
  • Sears Hardware: smaller area Sears stores that are operated as franchises; they are usually located in smaller markets that do not support a mall or full-size Sears. They are signed as Sears, and they are usually free-standing or located in a strip mall. They primarily concentrate on hardware, appliances, and lawn and garden supplies.
  • Sears Parts & Repair: Sears service centers that typically sell parts for appliances and also a carry-in point for customers to bring merchandise in that needs repaired either in or out of warranty. Typically labeled Sears Service Center or Sears Home Central, two names that also refer to the Parts and Repair centers. Sears has started closing many of these down as more and more of its service and repair business is home-based.
  • Sears Grand/Sears Essentials: located away from shopping malls (often free-standing); carries everything a regular Sears carries, plus health and beauty, toys, baby care, cleaning supplies, home décor, pet food, cards and party supplies, books, magazines, electronics, and a limited amount of food. Sears Grand stores are about 165,000 to 210,000 square feet (15,000 to 20,000 m²); Sears Essentials stores are about 70,000 to 100,000 square feet. These stores are essentially hybrids of a Sears and Kmart store.
  • Sears Home: A defunct Sears store which sold furniture which closed in 2001 after failing.
  • The Great Indoors: free-standing home décor stores that carry appliances, bedding, and kitchen and bath fixtures. These stores are about 130,000 square feet (12,000 m²).
  • Lands' End: Aside from carrying the Lands' End clothing line at Sears stores, Sears Holdings also operates 16 Lands' End stores that carry only Lands' End clothing. These stores are located in outlet malls and regular malls.
  • Orchard Supply Hardware: free-standing hardware stores that carry home repair, hardware products and lawn and garden supplies. Orchard Supply Stores are about 40,000 square feet (4,000 m²). There are currently 84 stores, all of them in California. Sears now owns 80.1% of the chain, and revealed intentions in May 2005 to spin it off.

Brands

Sears Holdings has many exclusive brands:

  • Craftsman tools
  • Kenmore appliances
  • DieHard car batteries
  • Martha Stewart-branded home decor, kitchen and home improvement items
  • Jaclyn Smith-branded clothing
  • Sesame Street-branded clothing
  • Thalia Sodi-branded clothing and jewelry
  • Lands' End clothing
  • Route 66 clothing
  • Joe Boxer underwear and home decor
  • Ty Pennington STYLE home decor

Major sponsorships

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series logo

Sears Holdings Corporation sponsors the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

The company is well-known for its charitable contributions, which it tends to keep quiet about.

Diversity

  • Sears Holdings received a 57% rating on the 2004 Corporate Equality Index published by the Human Rights Campaign.
  • Sears Holdings was named one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers in 2004 by Working Mothers magazine.

Further Reading

  • Katz, Donald R. (1987) The Big Store: Inside the Crisis and Revolution at Sears Viking Press; New York
  • Stevenson, Katherin Cole, and Jandl, H. Ward, (1995) Houses By Mail: A Guide to Houses from Sears, Roebuck and Company John Wiley & Sons; Hoboken, New Jersey

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The company is well-known for its charitable contributions, which it tends to keep quiet about. [4] IMDB link. Sears Holdings Corporation sponsors the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The film is directed by Pepe Danquart who won an Academy Award for Live Action Short Film in 1993 for Black Rider (Schwarzfahrer). Sears Holdings has many exclusive brands:. It is a record of the 90th Tour de France in 2003, the centenary year, from the perspective of Team Telekom. Because Kmart Corporation changed its name to Sears Holdings and because it is converting some Big Kmart stores to Sears Essentials stores as a test, there is speculation that Sears Holdings may drop the Kmart name entirely in the next decade. In 2005 a film titled Hell on Wheels was released.

Like Target stores, Kmart-branded stores in Australia belong to Coles Myer; Coles Myer also holds the rights to the Kmart brand in New Zealand. [3]. stores. Noted personalities such as Daniel Baal and Lance Armstrong have denounced probable doping. Sears Holdings owns 55% of Sears Canada, a large department store chain in Canada, similar to the U.S. They attribute those speed increases to better performance-enhancing drugs, possibly not detected by current anti-doping investigations. For example, Craftsman tools are now available in Kmart stores; they were previously exclusive to the Sears brand. Many commentators have remarked that the average speed at which the Tour is run has continued to rise, whereas improvements in training methods, bicycles etc., on a fairly mature sport, should only yield marginal improvements.

Sears Holdings has began cross-selling merchandise between its two brands. Although they intend to test the samples once the new test is ready, it is not clear what actions will be taken if the tests come back positive. Analysts speculated that Nike did not want its shoes and apparel sold in Kmart stores, and terminated its sales agreement with Sears Holdings to prevent this. However the samples were not tested for EPO, as the test was not ready for use and would not be until after the race completed. In 2005, Nike announced that it would no longer allow its products to be sold in Sears stores. In 2004, the UCI introduced a somewhat more rigorous testing program, taking urine samples a few times during the race. This new store format combines the Sears store concept with the Kmart format, which allows the company to better compete with Wal-Mart and Target. Furthermore, it is claimed that EPO is already passé and that other potent blood replacement products that do not increase the hematocrit rates are already in use in the cycling world.

In 2005, Sears introduced a new store format, called Sears Essentials; Some Kmart locations are to be converted to the Sears Essentials format, while new locations will also be built. This fear is surfacing in other sports, as Major League Baseball and track and field have been dogged by steroid controversies as well in recent years. Sears Holdings continues to operate stores under the Sears and Kmart mastheads. The UCI appears to be too afraid to lose popular Tour riders, and would rather operate under continued controversy than lower participation. The merger was completed on March 24, 2005, after receiving regulatory approval from the government and approval by shareholders of both companies. The UCI has done little to address these problems, taking a sort of "don't ask, don't tell" attitude, and running only a small and semi-voluntary drug testing program that is considered trivial to beat. Stockholders had a choice of receiving either stock or cash, subject to the pre-defined ratio. Some claim that EPO use is almost universal.

Shares of Sears, Roebuck and Company stock was converted into a combination of 55% stock and 45% cash (at $50 a share). In particular there is continued controversy over the use of EPO, a hormone that increases the amount of red blood cells in the blood and thus offers increased cardiovascular endurance. Shareholders in Kmart Corporation received one share in the new company. Professional cycling in general has a reputation for being one of the most doped sports. The new company would directed by a board of directors comprised of members from the two companies: seven members from Kmart's board, three from Sears'. However, during the official announcement of the 2006 Tour route in October 2005, an event that typically highlights the previous year's winner, the Tour management scrubbed all mention of Armstrong from the program. The two companies cited several reasons for combining forces:. Armstrong denied using EPO, and because there was no "counter-sample" to test, the UCI would not sanction him.

It announced at the time that it would continue operate stores under both the Sears and Kmart brands. This claim was based on a newer test on frozen urine samples that had been kept at the French national dope testing laboratory. As a part of the merger, Kmart Corporation would change its name to Sears Holdings Corporation. In late August 2005, one month after Armstrong's seventh consecutive victory in the Tour, the French sports newspaper L'Equipe claimed to have uncovered evidence that Lance Armstrong used EPO in 1999, before any EPO test had yet been invented. On November 17, 2004, Kmart Corporation announced its intentions to purchase Sears, Roebuck and Company; the purchase was billed as a merger of equals. While Armstrong had been subjected to urine testing after nearly every stage he raced in the Tour, a urine test for EPO was not available until 2002, and even then the test was unable to detect EPO usage after more than a few days. The company no longer owns the building. Armstrong, wearing the yellow jersey at the time, took umbrage.

This building, located in Chicago, is the tallest building in the United States. While he stopped short of directly accusing Armstrong of doping, Christophe Bassons (who is widely cosidered to be one of the few members of the 1998 Festina team who did not dope, and a known opponent of doping) wrote a newspaper diary during the 1999 Tour in which he implied that it was impossible to win the Tour without doping. Sears, Roebuck and Company built the famed Sears Tower, which was completed in 1974. Other athletes have suggested that Armstrong's performances are unnatural without doping. A number of class action lawsuits have been prepared and successfully won against the company.[1]. Simeoni's defamation suit against Armstrong is currently scheduled to be argued in the Spring of 2006. Sears has also been shouldered with the problem of keeping a sound legal basis for its actions. Although Simeoni has since signed with the Amore e Vita team, the team that also signed Jesus Manzano, it appears unlikely that he will again ride on a major ProTour team.

In the late 1990s, the company's market share in many areas deteriorated rapidly as Wal-Mart drew away working-class consumers, and Federated Department Stores attracted wealthier consumers. Simeoni and Armstrong then rejoined the peloton. Higgins sporting brand from 1908 until 1961, and this alienated them from their historical core of rural and working-class consumers. Having the race leader in an early break dooms their chances, so the members of the leading group pleaded with Simeoni to return to the peloton and, by implication, to take Armstrong with him. C. In a highly unusual move for a wearer of the yellow jersey, Armstrong himself chased Simeoni and they rode together to join the break. In the early 1980s, Sears ceased selling shotguns, which had previously even been sold under their internal J. Shortly thereafter, during the 18th stage of the 2004 Tour, Simeoni broke free of the peloton in an attempt to join a "break" that was up the road.

Morgan Chase in August 2005. In a 2003 interview with the French paper Le Monde, Armstrong said that Simeoni was a liar ("menteur absolu"), eventually leading to Simeoni suing him for defamation. The remaining card operations was sold to J.P. Armstrong had admitted to using Ferrari's services just before Simeoni's disclosure, leading to questions about whether Armstrong had used EPO. In 2003, they sold their retail credit card operation to Citibank because the credit cards were draining profits from the company. He also stated that Ferrari had developed a program for EPO use that would remain undetected. However, Sears Holdings does continue to produce speciality catalogs and the Holiday Wish Book. Michele Ferrari as his source of EPO.

In 1993, Sears stopped production of its general merchandise catalog because of sinking sales and profits. In 2002, Italian cyclist Filippo Simeoni, while under suspension for doping, began to cooperate with prosecutors and implicated Dr. In the 1980s and 1990s, the company divested themselves of many non-retail entities, which were creating a burden on the company's bottom line. Controversy continues to surround Lance Armstrong. This led to public opposition to Sears' policies, and alienated customers. Other members of Cofidis were also implicated by the testimony of fellow rider Philippe Gaumont, who told investigators and the press that doping with steroids, human growth hormones, EPO, and amphetamines was systematic on the team. Wal-Mart responded by creating Code Adam procedures to protect children that are in the store, whereas Sears initially ignored the risk, hoping it would go away on its own. Millar later admitted to doping with EPO before the 2003 World Championships -- his title was stripped from him, and he was suspended from professional cycling for two years.

Adam Walsh, the son of reporter John Walsh (America's Most Wanted), was abducted from a Sears department store in Hollywood, Florida, in 1981 at the age of six; his severed head was later found in Vero Beach, FL. In 2004, British cylist David Millar of Cofidis, then the reigning time trial World Champion, was taken in for questioning by French police. Sears formerly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker of "S", which is now used by the Sprint Nextel Corporation. Kelme had refused to renew Manzano's contract after the 2003 season, citing both lack of results and behavioral problems -- Manzano had been kicked out of the 2003 Vuelta a Espana by Kelme, ostensibly for having a girl in his room during the race. In 2004, Sears launched a new store concept called Sears Grand which it hopes will be a viable competitor to hypermarkets like Wal-Mart Supercenters. In the Spring of 2004, Jesus Manzano, a Spanish rider who had ridden for Kelme from 2000 to 2003, told Madrid sports newspaper As that he had been forced by his former team to take banned substances, and went into considerable technical detail about how riders avoid detection. In late 2004, the logo was switched from all upper case to upper and lower case. Use of prescriptions unmotivated by medical needs, particularly external corticoids which cannot be distinguished from (prohibited) injected ones, has been described by some cycling insiders as a widespread trick.

Now it consists of the blue text, Sears, with a white line separating each letter down along the length of its strokes. However, sports authorities decided not to apply this article and cleared Armstrong. Previously, the Sears logo consisted of the name "Sears" in a rectangle. Although the amount detected both was well below the "positive" threshold and was consistent with the amount that would be used for a topical skin cream, prescriptions must be shown to sports authorities in advance of use (UCI Rules Title XIV Chapter 4 Article 43). The current Sears logo was created in 1984. Armstrong explained he had used an external "cortisone" ointment in order to treat a saddle sore, and produced a prescription for it. Roebuck was dropped from the name of the stores, though not from the official corporate name in the 1970s. An accusation was made against Lance Armstrong during the 1999 Tour, when a glucocorticosteroid was detected in his urine.

During the late 1980s, and as late as 1993, the Discover card was the only accepted credit card at many Sears retail locations. While Virenque was not sentenced (but had penalties imposed on him by sports authority), the management of Festina, the aides, the doctors, and some pharmacists were found guilty and handed down fines and suspended jail sentences. It also introduced the Discover credit card in 1985. During the trial, he confessed to doping himself. It purchased Dean Witter and Coldwell Banker real estate in 1981, and started what became Prodigy as a joint venture in 1984. In 2000, he and the management of the Festina team were tried. The company started the Allstate Insurance Company back in 1931 and had representatives operating in its stores as early as 1934. This denial sounds as convoluted in French as it does in English, and the mock news show Les Guignols de l'Info quickly catapulted the phrase into French popular culture.

It established several major brands of products such as Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard, and Tuff-skin. Richard Virenque denied doping himself and said that if he had been doped, it was not willfully (literally, "à l'insu de mon plein gré"). Sears diversified and became a conglomerate during the mid-20th century. (Daniel Baal, Droit dans le mur). The company was the largest retailer in the United States until the early 1980s but had dropped significantly in rankings by the time it merged with Kmart. Polemics ensued, especially alleging the weakness of UCI's measures compared to the measures decided by the French cycling federation. After World War II, the company built many stores in suburban shopping malls. In the end the "Tour of Shame" continued after the UCI backed down and promised to limit the heavy-handed actions, although several teams were forced to withdraw from the race.

"I'm going to read the Sears catalog" was a polite way of saying "I'm going to the outhouse.". UCI, the international sport body for cycling, promised tough measures. In the days of outhouses and no readily available toilet paper, the pages of the mass-mailed catalog were used as toilet paper. The Spanish teams quit the Tour in a show of solidarity led by the ONCE team. The catalog also entered the language, particularly of rural dwellers, as a euphemism for toilet paper. In response the riders started a "sit-down strike" and refused to ride, thereby putting millions of dollars of endorsements and advertising revenue in jeopardy. The Sears, Roebuck catalog was sometimes referred to as "the Consumers' Bible." The Christmas Catalog was known as the "Wish Book", perhaps because of the toys in it. On July 23, 1998, French police forces acting on search warrants raided several teams in their hotels and found significant quantities of doping products in the hotel and cars of the TVM (cycling team) team.

In addition to mail-order or rail shipment of large purchases, items could also be picked up at the Sears Store in a nearby town when retail outlets were opened. The team's lawyer was Thibault de Montbrial. The first free standing department store was opened October 5, 1925 in Evansville, Indiana. Well-known riders on the 1998 Festina team included Laurent Brochard, Christophe Moreau, Didier Rous, Richard Virenque, and Alex Zülle. Sears issued many catalogs and didn't open its first retail store until 1925, when the business was already 32 years old. It was argued that doping was generalized inside the cycling world, at least for racers who wanted to achieve major results. In 1908, the company began offering entire houses as kits, marketed as Sears Modern Homes, and by the time the program ended in 1940, over 100,000 had been sold. In the 2000 criminal trial that ensued, it became apparent that the management of the Festina team had deliberately organized doping inside the team, including the hiring of a physician (Doctor Eric Rijkaert) because, the director sportif of the team Bruno Roussel later said, it was thought safer for the athletes than if they were left to their own individual doping schemes without competent medical advice.

This laid important groundwork for supplying a home, possibly the largest single investment a typical family would ever make. He later revealed many common practices of the cycling world in his book, Massacre à la Chaîne. People had learned to trust Sears for other products bought mail-order, and thus, sight unseen. On July 8, 1998, a major scandal erupted when French Customs arrested Willy Voet, one of the soigneurs for the Festina cycling team, for the possession of illegal quantities of prescription drugs and narcotics, including erythropoietin (EPO), growth hormones, testosterone and amphetamines. soon developed a reputation for both quality products and customer satisfaction. The 1998 Tour de France was perhaps the most scandal-ridden Tour in recent memory. Sears, Roebuck and Co. On July 13, 1967, British cyclist Tom Simpson died climbing Mont Ventoux following excessive usage of amphetamines, probably complicated by the now defunct practice of limiting daily water intake to only four bidons, circa 2 litres.

By the following year, dolls, icebox refrigerators, cook-stoves and groceries had been added to the catalog. As time went by, riders began using substances as a means of increasing performance rather than dulling the senses, and organizing bodies such as the Tour and the International Cycling Union (UCI), as well as government bodies, enacted policies to combat this practice. Alvah Roebuck had to resign soon after due to ill-health, but the company still retained his name. Early tour riders have been said to have consumed alcohol and used ether among other substances as a means of dulling the agonizing pain of competing in endurance cycling. Organizing the company so it could handle orders on an economical and efficient basis, Chicago clothing manufacturer Julius Rosenwald became a part-owner in 1895. Analysis of the 2005 competitors shows that:. By 1894, the Sears catalog had grown to 322 pages, featuring sewing machines, bicycles, sporting goods and a host of other new items. That said, even a rider who is chosen to ride but does not finish the race will have had to have been very fit to be selected.

The catalog business grew quickly. To finish the Tour de France, a cyclist must be in a very good physical state. Richard Sears knew that farmers often brought their crops to town where they could be sold and shipped, and then bought supplies, often at very high prices, from local general stores. In terms of nationality, riders from France have won most Tours (36), followed by Belgium (18), United States (10), Italy (9), Spain (8), Luxembourg (4), Switzerland and the Netherlands (2 each) and Ireland, Denmark and Germany (1 each). In 1893, the corporate name became Sears, Roebuck and Co.. Gino Bartali holds the record of longest time span between titles, having earned his first and last Tour victories 10 years apart (in 1938 and 1948 respectively). Roebuck who joined him in the business. Three other riders have managed to win the Tour three times:.

The next year, he moved to Chicago, Illinois where he met Alvah C. Four other riders have managed to win the Tour five times:. Soon he started a business selling watches. Lance Armstrong (United States) holds the record as the only rider to have won the Tour seven times (consecutively 1999–2005); he retired after the 2005 Tour. Sears purchased them himself, and sold the watches at a nice profit to other station agents up and down the line, and then ordered more for resale.
. Richard Sears was a railroad station agent in Minnesota when he received a shipment of watches which were unwanted by a local jeweler. .

Many people lived in rural areas and typically farmed. For the upcoming tour, a route description is given. In 1886, the United States contained only 38 states. For previous tours this includes detailed results. Once a major presence in Canada, after being sold to Zellers in the late 1990s, which was subsequently bought by the Hudson's Bay Company, all Kmart stores there were either closed or converted to the Zellers name. Note: Hyperlinked tour numbers point to more information on that particular tour. The lime green prototype was abandoned for the new Kmart "Orange" concept that rolled out at 9 test stores nationwide. Terms specific to the Tour de France include:.

However, Kmart could not afford a full-scale rollout. Much of the terminology used to describe the Tour de France is frequently used in bicycle racing across the world. The new layout has wider aisles, better selection and better lighting. As the Tour becomes ever more international and commercial, it remains to be seen whether the customs of the past will continue to be observed. Kmart introduced 5 then new prototype stores with a new logo, layout and color scheme (lime green and gray) in 2002 with one in White Lake, Michigan and four in Peoria, Illinois. Other riders may just be ill or slightly injured and unwillingly end up as the lanterne rouge. On May 6, 2003, Kmart officially emerged from bankruptcy protection as Kmart Holding Corporation and on June 10, 2003 it began trading on the NASDAQ as "KMRT". Thus, in the past many riders have attempted to engineer themselves into last place by artificial means.

After firing Conaway and Schwartz, It shut down more than 300 stores in the United States and laid off around 34,000 workers as part of a badly-needed restructuring. The money a rider can generate through publicity is much greater if he finishes last than second from last. Similar to the Enron scandal, Conway and Schwartz were accused of misleading shareholders and other company officials of the company's financial crisis, while they were allegedly making millions and allegedly spending the company's money on planes, houses, boats, and other luxuries. The rider may just be a lowly domestique, but such is the sympathy of the French public that finishing last is actually very prestigious. On January 22, 2002, Kmart filed for bankruptcy protection; led into the bankruptcy by its then chairman Chuck Conaway and president Mark Schwartz. The lanterne rouge is the rider ranked last in the general classification, who may wind up in Paris with an overall time five or more hours longer than that of the winner. In August 2001, Target Corporation sued Kmart for false advertising; Target claimed that its "Dare to Compare" campaign routinely misstated both Kmart's and Target's prices. Unless the final stage is a time trial--or in the case of Pedro Delgado attacking the yellow jersey of Stephen Roche in 1987 on the Champs-Elysées--riders generally do not launch attacks on the leader of the tour on the final stage, giving the leader one final day to bask in the glory of winning the yellow jersey.

The company could simply not afford to match Wal-Mart's prices. One does not attack a leading rider who has suffered a mechanical breakdown or other misfortune, one who is eating in the feed zone or one who is enjoying un besoin naturel (roughly translated to a natural need, the practice of answering nature's call). In addition, Kmart attempted to compete against Wal-Mart on price by introducing the "Blue Light Always" campaign, which ditched the original blue light concept for lower prices in general. Whenever reasonably possible, one allows a rider to lead the peloton when the race passes through his home village or on his birthday, and it often happens that the winner of the stage held on Bastille Day is French. In 2001, the stock scandal involving Martha Stewart severely hurt the corporation's image. The riders, unlike some of their fans, have traditionally tempered their competitiveness and enthusiasm with an elaborate but unwritten code of honor. No records exist of anyone actually shouting "Blue Light, Blue Light!" It has since ended the "blue light special" again. As word passes that the riders are approaching, the fans begin to encroach on the road until they are often just an arm’s length from the riders.

This scheme aimed to generate more interest in Kmart from shoppers and the media, but failed because stores did not follow the procedure. Any amateur rider or, in fact, just about anyone, is free to attempt the course on his bicycle in the morning, and after that there begins a garish cavalcade of advertising vehicles blaring music and tossing hats, souvenirs, sweets and free samples of all sorts. When the announcement of the special took place over the public address system, music would fill the store and all employees would stop their current actions, clap twice and pump their fists in the air, shouting "Blue Light, Blue Light!". In the hours before the riders pass, a carnival atmosphere prevails. The company then brought back the "blue light special", which involved the manager announcing a promotion in-store every hour, on the hour—said special lasting for 25 minutes. Millions of spectators line the route every year to see the Tour first-hand, some of them having encamped a week in advance to get the best views. The original "blue light special" had disappeared in 1991 due to changing consumer habits and misuse by individual stores (according to the company's official explanation). It is said that any rider who has worn the yellow jersey, even for a day, will never go hungry or thirsty again in France.

Many business analysts also faulted the corporation for failing to create a coherent brand image. Any Frenchman who has won the Tour becomes an object of public adoration in his native land. Furthermore, Kmart maintained a high dividend, which reduced the amount of money available for improving its stores. The Tour is immensely popular and important in France, not only as a sporting event but also as a matter of national identity and pride. Unlike competitor Wal-Mart, it failed to invest in computer technology to manage its supply chain. The Tour alternates between starting inside and outside France; traditionally, the first few stages are in a neighbouring country. In 1993 Kmart closed 110 stores. In some years, like 2005, there is no prologue.

In the 1990s, Kmart made a number of missteps, again. Usually one town will host the prologue (which is too short to go between towns) and also the start of stage 1. Rosie O'Donnell and Penny Marshall were among the company's most-recognized spokespersons. The prologue and first stage of the Tour are particularly prestigious to host. Other recognizable brands included Sesame Street and Disney. Sometimes the Tour will jump very long distances between stages, requiring a rest day to allow riders to be transported. It also began to offer exclusive merchandise by Martha Stewart, Kathy Ireland, and Jaclyn Smith. Whereas formerly each stage would start at the preceding stage's finish line, making a continuous course for the race, nowadays each stage can often start some distance from the previous day's finish, to allow more towns to share in the glory.

This then-new logo was replaced in 2004 with the current logo. To host a stage start or finish brings prestige, and a lot of business, to a town. However, most stores were not remodeled until the mid-1990s, some of which are not completely renovated today. The Tour usually features only one of these two climbs in a year. In 1990, in an effort to change their image, Kmart introduced a new logo (dropping the old-style italic "K" with a turquoise "mart", created in the early 1970s), and gave many stores a very badly needed renovation. Another famous mountain stage is the climb of the Mont Ventoux, often claimed to be the hardest climb in the Tour due to the harsh conditions there. Inventory piled up, checkout lines grew, and customers abandoned the stores. This seems less likely to be repeated, following complaints from the riders.

During the 1970s, the company's fortunes began to change; many of Kmart's stores were badly outdated and in decaying condition. In 2004, in another experiment, the mountain time trial ended at Alpe d'Huez. The first Super Kmart Center opened in 1991 in Medina, Ohio. The particularly tough climb of Alpe d'Huez is a favourite, providing a stage finish in most Tours. The first Big Kmart opened in 1996. It is unlikely that this would be repeated in the future. In 1987, Kmart Corporation sold its remaining Kresge stores. Most famously, the final stage of the 1989 Tour saw Greg LeMond overtake Laurent Fignon's overall lead by just 8 seconds, the closest winning margin in the Tour's history.

Kresge Corporation changed its name to Kmart Corporation. In recent years the Tour organisers have experimented with holding the final time trial as the final, rather than as the penultimate, stage. S. (In fact he was caught, he and Roche both finished in the peloton, and Roche thereby won the Tour.). In 1977, S. In 1987, with Stephen Roche leading Pedro Delgado by only 40 seconds after the final time trial, Delgado broke away from the peloton on the Champs-Elysées, threatening to snatch victory at the last minute. During the 1970s, Kmart put a number of competing retailers out of business. There have been exceptions, however.

Kmart was also featured in the Oscar-winning 1988 film Rain Man, in which Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman both famously exclaim, "Kmart sucks!". This stage is not usually competitive in terms of the overall lead since it is a flat sprinters' stage, and the leader is likely to have a sufficiently large margin to be unchallengeable. The phrase "attention Kmart shoppers" also entered into the American pop psyche. The race takes multiple turns over the avenue, which is lined with enormous spectator crowds. Kmart became known for its "blue light specials": at surprise moments, a store worker would light up a mobile police light and offer a discount in a part of the store. Since 1975, the final stage always finishes on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, which, being cobbled, is an unpleasant surface to cycle on, though not as much as the famous Paris-Roubaix. Kmart Foods, a long forgotten, now defunct chain of Kmart supermarkets opened in in that same decade. Jan Ullrich on Team Bianchi in the 2003).

A total of 18 Kmart stores opened that year. There is, however, no evidence that indicates this is true, and it is more reasonable to conclude that the new rules are simply designed to limit how much time any legitimate contender for the overall win could lose in the TTT stage due to being on a weak team (e.g. The first Kmart department store opened in 1962 in Garden City, Michigan. Some people speculate that the motivation behind the TTT rule change was an attempt by the race organisers to "Lance-proof" the Tour, limiting how much time Lance Armstrong could gain in this stage. By the 1920s, Kresge operated larger stores that offered a wider variety of merchandise and prices—precursors of the modern discount store. If they finished in sixth place (still assuming two minutes behind the winning team), they would lose only one minute (per the table). By 1912, the chain operated 85 stores. However, if they finished two minutes behind (still assuming 14th place), they would only lose the two minutes.

Kresge. For example, riders on a team that finished in 14th place, six minutes behind the winning team, would lose only two minutes and 20 seconds in the General Classification relative to the winners of the TTT. S. The following table indicates the time penalty added to the winning team's time that a member finishing with his team will receive, according to his team's placing, if their actual time is greater than the winning team's time plus this penalty. The store grew into a chain known as S. However, since the 2004 Tour, the only riders that necessarily receive actual time are those on the winning team; members on trailing teams (who finish ahead of or with the fifth member of their team) receive either the fifth member's actual time, or a computed time based on the winning team's time plus a penalty based on their team's placing in that stage, whichever is lower. Kresge's first retail establishment, a five-and-ten-cent store, resembled those operated by Frank Woolworth. Traditionally, riders received the actual time recorded by the fifth member of their team in that stage.

Kresge Corporation, the predecessor of Kmart, in 1899 in Detroit, Michigan. Members who finish clearly behind the fifth member of their team receive their individual actual time for the stage. Kresge founded the S.S. Each member of the team who crosses the finish line ahead of or with the fifth (or last, if the team has less than five riders) member of the team is credited with the time of the fifth (last) team member to cross the finish line; this is the middle member of a nine-person team. Sebastian S. Often in the first week of the Tour there is a team time trial (TTT). . Although other riders had used aerodynamic aids in previous tours, LeMond's aero handlebars and helmet were considered a major factor in his victory.

The company maintains its corporate headquarters in Hoffman Estates, and it maintains the Kmart brand from Michigan. Fignon wore the yellow jersey for the final stage, with a narrow lead of 50 seconds, and was beaten by LeMond's superior time trial performance. The company operates 3,800 retail locations under the mastheads of Sears, Sears Grand, Sears Essentials, Kmart, Big Kmart, Kmart SuperCenter, The Great Indoors, Orchard Supply Hardware, and Lands' End stores. The most recent occasion on which this was done, in 1989, yielded the closest ever finish in Tour history, when Greg LeMond beat Laurent Fignon by eight seconds overall. It was formed in 2005 by the purchase of Sears, Roebuck and Company of Hoffman Estates, Illinois by Kmart Corporation of Troy, Michigan. On a few occasions, the race organisers made the final stage into Paris a time trial. Sears Holdings Corporation NASDAQ: SHLD is the third largest retailer in the United States, behind Wal-Mart and The Home Depot. Traditionally the final time trial has been the penultimate stage, and effectively determines the winner before the final ordinary stage which is not ridden competitively.


. One of these may be a team time trial (see below). Ward, (1995) Houses By Mail: A Guide to Houses from Sears, Roebuck and Company John Wiley & Sons; Hoboken, New Jersey. There are usually three or four time trials during the Tour. Stevenson, Katherin Cole, and Jandl, H. The purpose of the prologue is to decide who gets to wear yellow on the opening day, and provide a large and prestigious spectacle for one lucky city. (1987) The Big Store: Inside the Crisis and Revolution at Sears Viking Press; New York. Here, riders start in reverse order of race number, meaning the weakest rider on the lowest ranked team will be first off, with the final rider being the defending champion, wearing Number 1.

Katz, Donald R. The first stage of the tour is often a time trial, known as a prologue. Sears Holdings was named one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers in 2004 by Working Mothers magazine. In an individual time trial each rider rides individually. Sears Holdings received a 57% rating on the 2004 Corporate Equality Index published by the Human Rights Campaign. With the exception of the now traditional finish at the Champs-Elysées all famous stages, like Alpe d'Huez and Mont Ventoux, are mountain stages, and these often bring out the most spectators who line up the roads by the thousands to cheer and encourage the cyclists and support their favorites. Ty Pennington STYLE home decor. The so called mountain stages are often the deciding factor in determining the winner of the Tour de France.

Joe Boxer underwear and home decor. On ordinary stages that do not have extended mountain climbs, most riders can manage to stay together in the peloton all the way to the finish; during mountain stages, however, it is not uncommon for some riders to lose 40 minutes to the winner of the stage. Route 66 clothing. Some ordinary stages take place in the mountains, almost always causing major shifts in the General Classification. Lands' End clothing. The final kilometre is indicated in the race course by a red triangular pennant - known as the flamme rouge - raised above the road[2]. Thalia Sodi-branded clothing and jewelry. A crashed sprinter inside the final kilometre will not win the sprint, but avoids being penalised in the overall classification.

Sesame Street-branded clothing. This prevents riders from being penalised for accidents that do not accurately reflect their performance on the stage as a whole given that crashes in the final kilometre can be huge pileups that are hard to avoid for a rider farther back in the peloton. Jaclyn Smith-branded clothing. Riders who crash within the last kilometer of the stage are credited with the finishing time of the group that they were with when they crashed. Martha Stewart-branded home decor, kitchen and home improvement items. These bonuses generally are a maximum of 20 seconds, and can allow a good sprinter to qualify for the Yellow Jersey early in the Tour. DieHard car batteries. Time bonuses are awarded at some intermediate sprints and stage finishes to the first three riders who reach the specified point.

Kenmore appliances. It is not unusual for the entire field to finish in a single group, taking some time to cross the line, but being credited with the same time as the stage winner. Craftsman tools. This avoids what would otherwise be dangerous mass sprints. Sears now owns 80.1% of the chain, and revealed intentions in May 2005 to spin it off. While only finishers are awarded sprint points, all riders finishing in an identifiable group (with no significant gap to the rider in front, as determined by race officials) are deemed to have finished the stage in the same time as the lead rider of that group for overall classification purposes. There are currently 84 stores, all of them in California. In the first week of the Tour, this usually leads to spectacular mass sprints.

Orchard Supply Stores are about 40,000 square feet (4,000 m²). The one who crosses the finish line first wins. Orchard Supply Hardware: free-standing hardware stores that carry home repair, hardware products and lawn and garden supplies. The latter is called drafting and is an essential technique. These stores are located in outlet malls and regular malls. Riders are permitted to touch (but not push or nudge) and to shelter behind each other, in slipstream [1]. Lands' End: Aside from carrying the Lands' End clothing line at Sears stores, Sears Holdings also operates 16 Lands' End stores that carry only Lands' End clothing. The real start (départ réel) usually is some 2 to 5 km away from the starting point, and is announced by the Tour director in the officials' car waving a white flag.

These stores are about 130,000 square feet (12,000 m²). In an ordinary stage, all riders start simultaneously and share the road. The Great Indoors: free-standing home décor stores that carry appliances, bedding, and kitchen and bath fixtures. Its King of the Mountains wears a green jersey. Sears Home: A defunct Sears store which sold furniture which closed in 2001 after failing. The Giro d'Italia notably differs in awarding the overall leader a pink jersey, having been organized and sponsored by La Gazzetta dello Sport, an Italian sports daily newspaper with pink pages. These stores are essentially hybrids of a Sears and Kmart store. For example, the Tour of Britain has yellow, green, and polka-dot jerseys with the same meaning as in the Tour de France.

Sears Grand stores are about 165,000 to 210,000 square feet (15,000 to 20,000 m²); Sears Essentials stores are about 70,000 to 100,000 square feet. The Tour's jersey colours have been adopted by other cycling stage races, and have thus come to have meaning within cycling generally, rather than solely in the context of the Tour. Sears Grand/Sears Essentials: located away from shopping malls (often free-standing); carries everything a regular Sears carries, plus health and beauty, toys, baby care, cleaning supplies, home décor, pet food, cards and party supplies, books, magazines, electronics, and a limited amount of food. No jerseys are exchanged in this situation. Sears has started closing many of these down as more and more of its service and repair business is home-based. Sometimes a rider takes the overall lead during a stage and gets sufficiently far ahead of the yellow jersey wearer such that his current time lead is greater than his time deficit to the yellow jersey in the general classification; when this happens, this rider may be referred to as being "the yellow jersey on the road". Typically labeled Sears Service Center or Sears Home Central, two names that also refer to the Parts and Repair centers. They also get a high-quality jersey to keep as a souvenir: the ones that are worn get dirty and are sometimes damaged by the day's cycling.

Sears Parts & Repair: Sears service centers that typically sell parts for appliances and also a carry-in point for customers to bring merchandise in that needs repaired either in or out of warranty. Overnight, a high-quality jersey is printed to be worn the next day. They primarily concentrate on hardware, appliances, and lawn and garden supplies. The jersey bears their team logo, and the copy that they are awarded immediately after the stage end must have the logo attached in a matter of minutes, so this is done by a rapid process that can be done in the field but which yields an inferior jersey. They are signed as Sears, and they are usually free-standing or located in a strip mall. A rider who leads a classification for a stage of the Tour gets three copies of the coloured jersey. Sears Hardware: smaller area Sears stores that are operated as franchises; they are usually located in smaller markets that do not support a mall or full-size Sears. At the end of the tour an award is given to the rider who was thought to be the most aggressive bike racer throughout the entire three week tour.

The brand was reinvented in 1991 with K-Mart's launch of the Super K-Mart Center concept. While this is usually is given to the winner of the previous stage, it is not always, especially during a mass sprint. They all closed in 1970s. Not an actual jersey, a red number is given to and worn by the rider who a panelist of judges deemed the most aggressive bike racer the day before. Most Kmart Foods were together with K-Mart stores. In this case the leading rider will wear the yellow jersey and the rider placed second in the points competition will wear the green jersey. Kmart Foods: Kmart Foods was a grocery store that was found in 1962. For example, in the first week it is common for the overall classification (yellow jersey) and points (sprint) competition (green jersey) to be led by the same rider.

Sears stores are usually multi-level, and there are about 870 full-size Sears stores. Where a single rider leads in the competition for more than one jersey, they wear the most prestigious jersey to which they are entitled, and the second-placed rider in each of the other classifications becomes entitled to wear the corresponding jersey. Sears: department store concept that is located in shopping malls; it carries clothing, jewelry, appliances, hardware, lawn and garden supplies, lawn mowers, paint, sporting goods and automobile repair and supplies. Jerseys are awarded in a ceremony immediately following the stage, sometimes before trailing riders have finished the stage. Several also include Kmart Express gas stations. The rider leading a classification at the end of a stage is required to wear the corresponding jersey during the next stage. These stores are also known as Super Kmart, Super K, and Super Kmart Center. Often, therefore, national championship titles are held by domestiques or young, "up-and-coming" riders.

SuperCenters are about 140,000 to 190,000 square feet (13,000 to 18,000 m²). National championships are held the weekend before the tour starts, and many of the tour favourites and team leaders do not compete in them. Super Kmart: Carries everything a regular Kmart carries, but has a full grocery section with meat, bakery, and deli. National time-trial champions are allowed to wear their national jerseys in time-trial stages only. Many were changed back to plain Kmart or closed. As in all road races, current national road race champions can wear their national jerseys in "ordinary stages"; the current world champion can wear the rainbow jersey. Sears Holdings no longer builds these stores, but many Kmarts are still signed as Big Kmart or Big K. This was abolished in the same year as the red jersey.

Big Kmart stores also feature Garden Shop, and Kcafe or Little Caesar's Pizza station. The jersey design was a patchwork, with areas resembling each individual jersey design. About 84,000 to 120,000 square feet (7,800 to 11,000 m²). There also used to be a combination jersey, scored on a points system based on standings for the yellow, green, red, and polka-dot jerseys. Big Kmart: Carries everything a regular Kmart carries, but with a emphasis on home decor, children's clothing, and more food items. The red jersey was abolished in 1989. About 84,000 to 100,000 square feet (7,800 to 9,300 m²). The sprints remain, with all these additional effects, the most significant now being the points for the green jersey.

Many stores also have a pharmacy and snack bar. These sprints also scored points towards the green jersey and bonus seconds towards the overall classification, as well as cash prizes offered by the residents of the area where the sprint took place. Kmart: discount stores (usually free-standing or located in strip malls) that carry electronics, music, movies, bedding, hardware, sporting goods, clothing, toys, jewelry, office supplies, health and beauty products, home décor, and a limited selection of food. Historically, there was a red jersey for the standings in non-stage-finish sprints: points were awarded to the first three riders to pass two or three intermediate points during the stage. Preservation of two brands after the merger allowed Sears Holdings to continue focusing on different customer demographics, without alienating either group. The team classification is not associated with a particular jersey design. The establishment of a shared customer-focused corporate culture between the two companies was estimated to yield improvements in revenue per unit area. The Tour currently has 21 teams of 9 riders each (when starting), each sponsored by one or more companies - although at some stages of its history, the teams have been divided instead by nationality.

At least $300 million a year in cost savings was expected annually, particularly in the supply chain and in administrative overhead. For this classification, the time of the first three riders from each team is added after each stage. This was estimated to be an expected $200 million a year in revenue synergies. Finally, there is a team classification. Proprietary brands held by both companies could be made more accessible to their target demographics by leveraging their combined real estate holdings. The rider with most points in total gets a white-on-red (instead of a black-on-white) identification number. Earlier in the year Sears had purchased dozens of current Kmart locations; the merger permited the combined company to accelerate that process. Each day, a group of judges awards points to riders who made particularly attacking moves that day.

Sears had begun investing in new, larger off-mall stores, called Sears Grand stores. Two lesser classifications are that for the maillot blanc (white jersey), which is like the yellow jersey, but only open for young riders (those who are less than 25 years old on January 1 of the year the Tour is ridden), and that for the "fighting spirit" award which goes to the most combative rider. See also: Climbing specialist (cycling)
. Two riders have won the "King of the Mountains" six times: Federico Bahamontes (Spain) in 1954, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1964; and Lucien Van Impe (Belgium) in 1971, 1972, 1975, 1977, 1981, 1983; while Richard Virenque (France) won his record-breaking seventh title in 2004 (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2004). The colours were decided by the then sponsor, Poulain Chocolate, to match a popular product.

Although the best climber was first recognized in 1933, the distinctive jersey was not introduced until 1975. Additionally beginning in 2004, points scored on the final climb of the day were doubled if said climb was at least a second category climb. Further points over a fourth category climb are only for the top three places while on a hors category climb the top ten riders are rewarded. In 2004, the scoring system was changed such that the first rider over a fourth category climb was awarded 3 points while the first to complete a hors category climb would win 20 points.

A fifth category, called Hors categorie (outside category) is formed by mountains even more difficult than those of the first category. The climbs are divided into categories from 1 (most difficult) to 4 (least difficult) based on their difficulty, measured as a function of their steepness and length. At the top of each climb in the Tour, there are points for the riders who are first over the top. The "King of the Mountains" wears a white jersey with red dots (maillot à pois rouges), referred to as the "polka dot jersey".

See also: Cycling sprinter
. The German rider Erik Zabel has won the most green jerseys with six consecutive wins from 1996 through 2001. Additional points are available at intermediate sprint contests, usually occurring 2 or 3 times in each stage at pre-determined locations; currently 6, 4 and 2 points are available to the first 3 riders at each sprint. Points are also awarded for individual time trial stages: 15 for the winner down to 1 for the 10th rider.

This is because, generally speaking, the more mountainous a stage is, the less likely the chance of a sprint finish between many riders. The number of points for each place and the number of riders rewarded varies depending on the type of stage - flat stages give the winner 35 points down to 1 point for the 25th rider; medium mountain stages give the winner 25 points down to 1 point for the 20th rider; high mountain stages give the winner 20 points down to 1 point for the 15th rider. At the end of each stage, points for this jersey are gained by the riders who finish first, second, etc. The maillot vert (green jersey) is awarded for sprint points.

The colour of the leader's jersey was originally a reference to the newspaper which sponsored the race, which had yellow pages.
. However, these bonuses are rarely significant enough to cause major upset in the classement géneral (general classification). As of 2005, the first 3 places to finish are awarded bonuses of 20, 12 and 8 seconds respectively, while the first 3 places at intermediate sprints are awarded 6, 4 and 2 seconds. Additional time bonuses, in the form of a number of seconds to be deducted from the rider's overall time, are available to the first 3 riders to finish the stage or cross an intermediate sprint (see below).

Desgrange added the yellow jersey in 1919 because he wanted the race leader to wear something distinctive and because the pages of his magazine, L'Auto, were yellow. The rider with the lowest total time is the leader, and at the end of the event is declared the overall winner of the Tour. It is awarded by calculating the total combined race time up to that point for each rider. The maillot jaune (yellow jersey), worn by the overall time leader, is most prized.

If a single rider is entitled to wear more than one jersey (for example, both overall leader and King of the Mountains), he wears the most prestigious one with the second place holder in the category wearing the other. The current holder of the prize is required to wear the jersey when racing. Generally a colored jersey is associated with each prize. Since 1984 there has been a Tour de France for women, La Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale or simply Le Tour Féminin.

The Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and World Cycling Championship constitute the Triple Crown of Cycling. Other major stage races include the Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy) and the Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain). (A notable exception in recent years being the late Marco Pantani, the winner in 1998, who was a mountain climbing specialist.). Although the tour is often won in the mountain stages, the length and variety of terrain ensures that only an all-round rider can win the race.

The most famous mountains are those in the hors-categorie (peaks where the difficulty in climbing is beyond categorization), including the Col du Tourmalet, Mont Ventoux, Col du Galibier, the Hautacam and Alpe d'Huez. Next year's race can be expected to visit those two mountain ranges in the reverse order.) Some of the visited places, especially mountains and passes, recur almost annually and are famous on their own. (For example, the most recent Tour (2005) was a clockwise direction Tour - visiting the Alpes first and then the Pyrenees. The itinerary the race changes each year and alternates between clockwise and anti-clockwise direction around France.

With the variety of stages, sprinters may win stages, but the overall winner is almost always a master of the mountain stages and time trials. The remaining stages are held over relatively flat terrain. During the Tour, various stages occur, including a number of mountain stages, individual time trials and a team time trial. The traditional finish is in Paris on the Champs-Élysées.

This was scrapped in 2005, with the presumption that future editions will see the prologue reinstated. In recent years, the first stage had been preceded by a short individual time trial (1 to 15 km), called the prologue. The three weeks usually includes two rest days, which are sometimes used to transport the riders long distances between stages. Most stages take place in France though it is very common to have a few stages in nearby countries, such as Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany as well as non-neighbouring countries such as the Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom (visited in 1974 and 1994) and the Netherlands.

Even when commercial cycling teams had become commonplace in other events, the Tour was contested by national teams for several years during the 1950s and early 1960s. The Tour is nowadays contested by professional teams backed by commercial sponsors, but the event began as a race for individuals; slipstreaming and other team tactics were initially savagely condemned by Desgrange, and he only accepted their inevitability during the 1920s. The leaders of these competitions are represented by certain coloured jerseys; see below for more information. In addition to the race for the overall win, there are several additional competitions.

Although the number of stages has varied in the past, recently the Tour has consisted of about 20 stages, with a total length of between 3,000 and 4,000 km (1800 to 2500 mi). Winning a Tour de France stage is considered a great pro cycling achievement, more prestigious than winning most single day races, regardless of one's overall standing in the GC. It is possible to win the overall race without winning any individual stages (which Greg LeMond did in 1990). The overall winner is the one who is ranked first on GC at the end of the final stage.

The ranking of the riders according to accumulated time is known as the General Classification, or GC. The amount of time it takes each rider to complete each stage is noted, recorded and accumulated. The Tour is a "stage race", divided into a number of stages, each being a race held over one day. Today, the Tour is organised by the Société du Tour de France, a subsidiary of Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), which is part of the media group that owns l'Équipe.

The record circulation claimed by Desgrange was 854,000, achieved during the 1933 Tour. Promotion of the Tour de France certainly proved a great success for the newspaper; circulation leapt from 25,000 before the 1903 Tour to 65,000 after it; in 1908 the race boosted circulation past a quarter of a million, and during the 1923 Tour it was selling 500,000 copies a day. L'Auto announced the race on January 19, 1903. The idea for a round-France stage race is also credited to one of his journalists, Géorges Lefèvre, with whom Desgrange had lunch at the Café de Madrid in Paris on 20 November 1902.

The Tour was founded as a publicity event for the newspaper L'Auto (ancestor of the present l'Équipe) by its editor and co-founder, Henri Desgrange, to rival the Paris-Brest et retour ride (sponsored by Le Petit Journal), and Bordeaux-Paris. .
. It is also the world's largest annual pro sporting event, measured in the number of viewers.

Only the best cycling teams in the world are chosen to compete and competitors must have an invitation to enter the race. The Tour de France, in contrast, has long been a household name around the globe, even amongst people who are not generally interested in pro cycling, and is for cycling what the FIFA World Cup is to football (soccer) in terms of global popularity. While the other two European Grand Tours are well-known in Europe and attract many professional cyclists, they are relatively unknown outside the continent, and even the UCI World Cycling Championship is only familiar to cycling enthusiasts. The Tour de France is by far the most prestigious of all cycling competitions in the world.

The most recent Tour was the 2005 Tour de France. It has been held annually since 1903, interrupted only by World War I and World War II. The Tour de France (French for "Tour of France"), often referred to as La Grande Boucle, Le Tour or The Tour, is a long-distance road bicycle racing competition for professionals held over three weeks in July in and around France. The "average" rider in 2005 was 1.79 metres (5 ft 10 in) tall, weighed 71 kg (157 lb, 11 stone 3 lb), and had a resting heart rate of 50 beats per minute.

Chris Horner and Laurent Lefevre shared the lowest resting heart rate, 35 beats per minute. The lightest was Leonardo Piepoli at 57 kg (126 lb or 8 stone 14 lb). The heaviest rider was Magnus Backstedt at 95 kg (209 lb or 14 stone 13 lb). The shortest was Samuel Dumoulin at 1.58 metres (5 ft 2 in).

The tallest rider was Johan van Summeren at 1.98 metres (6 ft 5.5 in). French racer Adolphe Helière drowned at the Côte d'Azur during a rest day. 1910: Hors Categorie. 1935: Spanish racer Francesco Cepeda died after plunging down a ravine on the Col du Galibier.

His death prompted tour officials to begin a programme of drug testing. Amphetamines and alcohol were found in Simpson's jersey and bloodstream. 1967: Friday July 13, Stage 13: English rider Tom Simpson died of heart failure on the ascent of Mont Ventoux. Casartelli, not wearing a helmet, received massive trauma to the top of his head from a concrete block and died on the scene.

1995: July 18, stage 15: Italian racer Fabio Casartelli crashed at approximately 88 km/h descending the Col de Portet d'Aspet. Greg LeMond (USA) in 1986, 1989, and 1990. Louison Bobet (France) in 1953, 1954, and 1955;. Philippe Thys (Belgium) in 1913, 1914, and 1920;.

Miguel Induráin (Spain) in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 (the first to do so in five consecutive years). Bernard Hinault (France) in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1985;. Eddy Merckx (Belgium) in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1974;. Jacques Anquetil (France) in 1957, 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964;.

lanterne rouge - meaning "red lantern" (as found at the end of a rail train), the name for the overall last-place rider.

Further information: Tour de France#Culture and Customs

. flamme rouge, or red kite - the red pennant hanging from an archway at the start of the final kilometre (it may not always be exactly one kilometre from the finish; it is roughly 1000 metres from the finish, sometimes before where a crash may be likely, and/or where the erection of a large, tent-like inflatable arch is easiest). hors catégorie - a climb that is "beyond categorization", an incredibly tough climb. course - all riders taken together, from the tête de la course to the arrière de la course.

2005 to present Christian Prudhomme. 1989 to 2005 Jean-Marie Leblanc. 1988 to 1989 Jean-Pierre Courcol. 1987 to 1988 Jean-François Naquet-Radiguet.

1962 to 1986 Jacques Goddet and Felix Levitan. 1947 to 1961 Jacques Goddet. 1903 to 1939 Henri Desgrange.

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