Sears Seeks LL Cool J Factor
A report on the Women’s Wear Daily website suggests that Edward Lampert, chairman of Sears Holdings, is bent on proving to Wall Street that he really is a retailer despite all evidence to the contrary since he first acquired Kmart and then later Sears.
The latest attempt by Mr. Lampert and company to prove their merchant credentials is a new casual wear line for juniors, kids and young men by rapper, actor and author LL Cool J that will debut in Sears stores next fall.
Sears is rolling out the new line in 450 of its 900 stores in September in an effort to capture urban shoppers. The chain is developing a store-with-the-store concept as it has done with other brands to help set the line apart.
If all goes according to plan, the new line will be in 600 Sears locations by the holiday season. Sears is hoping that LL Cool J’s line will generate up to $150 million in first year sales.
Irv Neger, senior vice president of apparel for Sears, told Women’s Wear Daily, “We know this [urban] customer is in the store, but it’s a customer we weren’t reaching. With this brand, we see tremendous growth opportunity.”
Mr. Neger said the new line is part of Sears’ turnaround strategy with the retailer focusing on local shopper needs and taking an approach more like a specialty shop than a department store.
“Tough economic times create evolution and we are going to take the steps to develop and make us right for our customers,” Mr. Neger said.
“We are going to take a lot more risks in juniors,” he added. “It’s all about style, quality and value in juniors and we plan to move quickly, reacting to the trends and constantly have new merchandise on the floor.”
Discussion Questions: Is Sears on the right track with its new line of juniors, kids and young men’s clothing targeting urban shoppers? Do you think creating multiple stores-within-the-store will benefit this new line and total store sales or will it actually work against Sears?