Sears to Give Stores Multicultural Makeover

Oct 08, 2004

By George Anderson

Sears announced yesterday it plans to revamp 97 of its full-line stores this month as part of a pilot project to determine how it can better appeal to the minority communities served by those locations.

The stores, where changes are planned, serve markets where at least 60 percent of the population is made up of consumers from one or more minority ethnic groups.

The makeovers are part of the retailer’s program to add apparel lines designed specifically for multicultural shoppers. It follows, says the company, a two-year analysis of customer buying patterns and preferences to determine the brands and products minority consumers want to buy.

Sears plans to revamp in-store signage and displays to communicate more effectively with shoppers in the selected stores. It also intends to add bilingual associates to improve customer service in stores serving Hispanic communities.

“Now, multicultural shoppers can enjoy a more customized Sears experience,” said Cynthia Maignan, Sears’ director of multicultural merchandising, in released statement. “From the moment the customer walks in the door, she will find up-to-the-minute modern fashions and brands that resonate with her sense of style for each season.”

Moderator’s Comments: Is Sears on the right track with its multicultural store concept test?

This is not the first time Sears has launched a multi-cultural initiative. It previously tested men’s clothing stores with a more urban appeal. Those didn’t
pan out but we’re sure the retailer has brought at least some of that learning to its new endeavor.

If the current test works, Sears said it will expand its new multicultural store concept to additional markets next year.
George Anderson – Moderator

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