Sears Has 200 Ideas To Change Business

Jan 22, 2004

By George Anderson

Last week at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) convention in New York, Sears’ chief executive Alan Lacy said the company has “200 ideas on pieces of paper now…things to stop doing that aren’t adding value, things to do more of.”

One of those ideas, outsourcing as much as 23 percent of the retailer’s information technology functions, is actively being pursued, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

Sears’ chief information officer, Garry Kelly, said the decision was being made because other companies can provide the retailer with “much better technology at a lower cost.”

The retailer is expected to make its decision by March. Candidate companies are said to include IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Electronic Data Systems and Computer Sciences Corp.

Moderator’s Comment: What would you advise Alan Lacy and Sears to include as priorities in the company’s list of 200 ideas to improve the retailer’s

From a marketing standpoint, we’d like to see the retailer brand focus nearly all its external communications on “Only at Sears” brands.

Then, we’d like to see the retailer take any savings it realizes from actions such as outsourcing IT and apply it to reducing prices on items that Sears
and other retailers sell. There’s nothing about Sears that justifies a consumer paying 10 percent more for a pair of jeans or on a consumer electronics device if the same thing
is sold for less at a specialty retailer or one of the mass merchants.

Anderson – Moderator

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