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During the 1970s, the company's fortunes began to change; many of Kmart's stores were badly outdated and in decaying condition.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. Despite her infamy she remains one of the most visible and memorable contestants from The Apprentice. Sears Holdings Corporation sponsors the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. [3]. Sears Holdings has many exclusive brands:. A TV Guide survey conducted in summer of 2005 voted her as the most hated reality show contestant of all time. 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. Omarosa is rumored to have been seen passionately kissing Jose Canseco, but whether this affected her marriage is unknown.

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. [2]. stores. As of August 28, 2005, Omarosa and husband of five years Aaron Stallworth separated [1] and the couple formally filed for divorce. Sears Holdings owns 55% of Sears Canada, a large department store chain in Canada, similar to the U.S. In August 2005 she appeared as a sideline reporter on Bravo's Battle of the Network Reality Stars and also appeared on the show's reunion special. For example, Craftsman tools are now available in Kmart stores; they were previously exclusive to the Sears brand. A behind-the-scenes clip showing Omarosa's rude treatment of a Surreal Life producer seemed to dispute this claim.

Sears Holdings has began cross-selling merchandise between its two brands. In the second part of the Dirty Laundry segment, she revealed she was "acting" the whole time instead of being real, because her fans love to see her be bad. 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. During the season she got into a serious confrontation with co-star Janice Dickinson. In 2005, Nike announced that it would no longer allow its products to be sold in Sears stores. She has appeared alongside Jose Canseco, Bronson Pinchot, Janice Dickinson, Carey Hart, Caprice Bourret, and Pepa on the 5th season of the VH1 series "The Surreal Life". 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. She was eliminated in the third stunt.

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. On the show, Omarosa displayed her signature personality, especially towards fellow contestant Nikki McKibbin. Sears Holdings continues to operate stores under the Sears and Kmart mastheads. The episode aired on February 28. The merger was completed on March 24, 2005, after receiving regulatory approval from the government and approval by shareholders of both companies. In 2005, she appeared on a reality all star episode of Fear Factor with other reality TV contestants. Stockholders had a choice of receiving either stock or cash, subject to the pre-defined ratio. She was supposed to appear in an ad for Clairol Herbal Essences shampoo, but a flurry of criticism from customers and Ereka Vetrini caused them to shelve the appearance.

Shares of Sears, Roebuck and Company stock was converted into a combination of 55% stock and 45% cash (at $50 a share). She has been recently featured in Burger King commercials that are set in a corporate office, where ordinary white collar workers talk about their Burger King burgers. Shareholders in Kmart Corporation received one share in the new company. Notably, she was scheduled to appear as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live but walked off of the set because there was a lie detector machine present. 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'. Omarosa managed to continually contribute to a public dislike for her by frequently misleading the press about her career and past. The two companies cited several reasons for combining forces:. In addition, another fellow contestant, Katrina Campins, tried to reconcile the two, but it didn't work.

It announced at the time that it would continue operate stores under both the Sears and Kmart brands. On the second and third episodes of The Apprentice 1, Ereka and Omarosa got into a fight. As a part of the merger, Kmart Corporation would change its name to Sears Holdings Corporation. Vetrini later appeared on the Howard Stern show and passed several lie detector tests. On November 17, 2004, Kmart Corporation announced its intentions to purchase Sears, Roebuck and Company; the purchase was billed as a merger of equals. This claim has been vehemently denied by Vetrini, Donald Trump, Mark Burnett, and NBC. The company no longer owns the building. After being fired, she publicly accused fellow contestant Ereka Vetrini of using racist slurs in reference to her.

This building, located in Chicago, is the tallest building in the United States. Omarosa was controversial on and off the show. Sears, Roebuck and Company built the famed Sears Tower, which was completed in 1974. Due to her marital status being separated, Omarosa may have different excuses and/or views with regards to nude modeling. A number of class action lawsuits have been prepared and successfully won against the company.[1]. At the time of the offer, Omarosa rejected it, declaring that some of her parts were reserved for her then-husband. Sears has also been shouldered with the problem of keeping a sound legal basis for its actions. She has been on The Oprah Winfrey Show, made a brief appearance on NBC soap Passions, and a renowned pornographic magazine offered her money to pose nude.

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. After being fired from the show, her celebrity profile grew. Higgins sporting brand from 1908 until 1961, and this alienated them from their historical core of rural and working-class consumers. When hungry or eating, Omarosa showed a lack of interest in work-related tasks. C. During the show she also constantly complained of migraine headaches due to a small amount of plaster falling on her head, something that was mocked in comedy skits on other shows. In the early 1980s, Sears ceased selling shotguns, which had previously even been sold under their internal J. She deliberately lied to him and caused major complications with his final contest, and this ultimately contributed to his loss on the progam.

Morgan Chase in August 2005. During the final episode in which the two finalists competed against each other, contestant Kwame Jackson chose Omarosa as part of his final team. The remaining card operations was sold to J.P. She was also fired 4 times in 2 years within the Clinton Administration. In 2003, they sold their retail credit card operation to Citibank because the credit cards were draining profits from the company. She was characterized on the show as an antagonist, partly because of her scheming behavior towards other contestants, her laziness and her lying. However, Sears Holdings does continue to produce speciality catalogs and the Holiday Wish Book. firm before getting her shot at becoming a Donald Trump employee, had strongly negative reactions from viewers during her nine weeks on the show.

In 1993, Sears stopped production of its general merchandise catalog because of sinking sales and profits. Omarosa, who used to work for a Washington, D.C. 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. Omarosa was fired on Week 9 (Art Gallery Task) for making an excessive amount of excuses (See Season 1). This led to public opposition to Sears' policies, and alienated customers. Omarosa Manigault (born February 15, 1974 in Youngstown, Ohio) is a former participant on the television reality show The Apprentice. 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.

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. Sears formerly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker of "S", which is now used by the Sprint Nextel Corporation. 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 late 2004, the logo was switched from all upper case to upper and lower case.

Now it consists of the blue text, Sears, with a white line separating each letter down along the length of its strokes. Previously, the Sears logo consisted of the name "Sears" in a rectangle. The current Sears logo was created in 1984. Roebuck was dropped from the name of the stores, though not from the official corporate name in the 1970s.

During the late 1980s, and as late as 1993, the Discover card was the only accepted credit card at many Sears retail locations. It also introduced the Discover credit card in 1985. It purchased Dean Witter and Coldwell Banker real estate in 1981, and started what became Prodigy as a joint venture in 1984. The company started the Allstate Insurance Company back in 1931 and had representatives operating in its stores as early as 1934.

It established several major brands of products such as Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard, and Tuff-skin. Sears diversified and became a conglomerate during the mid-20th century. 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. After World War II, the company built many stores in suburban shopping malls.

"I'm going to read the Sears catalog" was a polite way of saying "I'm going to the outhouse.". In the days of outhouses and no readily available toilet paper, the pages of the mass-mailed catalog were used as toilet paper. The catalog also entered the language, particularly of rural dwellers, as a euphemism for toilet paper. 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.

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 first free standing department store was opened October 5, 1925 in Evansville, Indiana. Sears issued many catalogs and didn't open its first retail store until 1925, when the business was already 32 years old. 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.

This laid important groundwork for supplying a home, possibly the largest single investment a typical family would ever make. People had learned to trust Sears for other products bought mail-order, and thus, sight unseen. soon developed a reputation for both quality products and customer satisfaction. Sears, Roebuck and Co.

By the following year, dolls, icebox refrigerators, cook-stoves and groceries had been added to the catalog. Alvah Roebuck had to resign soon after due to ill-health, but the company still retained his name. 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. By 1894, the Sears catalog had grown to 322 pages, featuring sewing machines, bicycles, sporting goods and a host of other new items.

The catalog business grew quickly. 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 1893, the corporate name became Sears, Roebuck and Co.. Roebuck who joined him in the business.

The next year, he moved to Chicago, Illinois where he met Alvah C. Soon he started a business selling watches. 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. In 1886, the United States contained only 38 states. 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. The lime green prototype was abandoned for the new Kmart "Orange" concept that rolled out at 9 test stores nationwide.

However, Kmart could not afford a full-scale rollout. The new layout has wider aisles, better selection and better lighting. 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. 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".

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. 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. On January 22, 2002, Kmart filed for bankruptcy protection; led into the bankruptcy by its then chairman Chuck Conaway and president Mark Schwartz. 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.

The company could simply not afford to match Wal-Mart's prices. 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. In 2001, the stock scandal involving Martha Stewart severely hurt the corporation's image. No records exist of anyone actually shouting "Blue Light, Blue Light!" It has since ended the "blue light special" again.

This scheme aimed to generate more interest in Kmart from shoppers and the media, but failed because stores did not follow the procedure. 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!". 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. 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).

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

In the 1990s, Kmart made a number of missteps, again. Rosie O'Donnell and Penny Marshall were among the company's most-recognized spokespersons. Other recognizable brands included Sesame Street and Disney. It also began to offer exclusive merchandise by Martha Stewart, Kathy Ireland, and Jaclyn Smith.

This then-new logo was replaced in 2004 with the current logo. However, most stores were not remodeled until the mid-1990s, some of which are not completely renovated today. 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. Inventory piled up, checkout lines grew, and customers abandoned the stores.

During the 1970s, the company's fortunes began to change; many of Kmart's stores were badly outdated and in decaying condition. The first Super Kmart Center opened in 1991 in Medina, Ohio. The first Big Kmart opened in 1996. In 1987, Kmart Corporation sold its remaining Kresge stores.

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

Kmart was also featured in the Oscar-winning 1988 film Rain Man, in which Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman both famously exclaim, "Kmart sucks!". The phrase "attention Kmart shoppers" also entered into the American pop psyche. 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. Kmart Foods, a long forgotten, now defunct chain of Kmart supermarkets opened in in that same decade.

A total of 18 Kmart stores opened that year. The first Kmart department store opened in 1962 in Garden City, Michigan. By the 1920s, Kresge operated larger stores that offered a wider variety of merchandise and prices—precursors of the modern discount store. By 1912, the chain operated 85 stores.

Kresge. S. The store grew into a chain known as S. Kresge's first retail establishment, a five-and-ten-cent store, resembled those operated by Frank Woolworth.

Kresge Corporation, the predecessor of Kmart, in 1899 in Detroit, Michigan. Kresge founded the S.S. Sebastian S. .

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


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

Katz, Donald R. Sears Holdings was named one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers in 2004 by Working Mothers magazine. Sears Holdings received a 57% rating on the 2004 Corporate Equality Index published by the Human Rights Campaign. Ty Pennington STYLE home decor.

Joe Boxer underwear and home decor. Route 66 clothing. Lands' End clothing. Thalia Sodi-branded clothing and jewelry.

Sesame Street-branded clothing. Jaclyn Smith-branded clothing. Martha Stewart-branded home decor, kitchen and home improvement items. DieHard car batteries.

Kenmore appliances. Craftsman tools. Sears now owns 80.1% of the chain, and revealed intentions in May 2005 to spin it off. There are currently 84 stores, all of them in California.

Orchard Supply Stores are about 40,000 square feet (4,000 m²). Orchard Supply Hardware: free-standing hardware stores that carry home repair, hardware products and lawn and garden supplies. These stores are located in outlet malls and regular malls. 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 about 130,000 square feet (12,000 m²). The Great Indoors: free-standing home décor stores that carry appliances, bedding, and kitchen and bath fixtures. Sears Home: A defunct Sears store which sold furniture which closed in 2001 after failing. These stores are essentially hybrids of a Sears and Kmart store.

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. 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 has started closing many of these down as more and more of its service and repair business is home-based. Typically labeled Sears Service Center or Sears Home Central, two names that also refer to the Parts and Repair centers.

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. They primarily concentrate on hardware, appliances, and lawn and garden supplies. They are signed as Sears, and they are usually free-standing or located in a strip mall. 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.

The brand was reinvented in 1991 with K-Mart's launch of the Super K-Mart Center concept. They all closed in 1970s. Most Kmart Foods were together with K-Mart stores. Kmart Foods: Kmart Foods was a grocery store that was found in 1962.

Sears stores are usually multi-level, and there are about 870 full-size Sears stores. 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. Several also include Kmart Express gas stations. These stores are also known as Super Kmart, Super K, and Super Kmart Center.

SuperCenters are about 140,000 to 190,000 square feet (13,000 to 18,000 m²). Super Kmart: Carries everything a regular Kmart carries, but has a full grocery section with meat, bakery, and deli. Many were changed back to plain Kmart or closed. Sears Holdings no longer builds these stores, but many Kmarts are still signed as Big Kmart or Big K.

Big Kmart stores also feature Garden Shop, and Kcafe or Little Caesar's Pizza station. About 84,000 to 120,000 square feet (7,800 to 11,000 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 100,000 square feet (7,800 to 9,300 m²).

Many stores also have a pharmacy and snack bar. 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. Preservation of two brands after the merger allowed Sears Holdings to continue focusing on different customer demographics, without alienating either group. The establishment of a shared customer-focused corporate culture between the two companies was estimated to yield improvements in revenue per unit area.

At least $300 million a year in cost savings was expected annually, particularly in the supply chain and in administrative overhead. This was estimated to be an expected $200 million a year in revenue synergies. Proprietary brands held by both companies could be made more accessible to their target demographics by leveraging their combined real estate holdings. Earlier in the year Sears had purchased dozens of current Kmart locations; the merger permited the combined company to accelerate that process.

Sears had begun investing in new, larger off-mall stores, called Sears Grand stores.

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