Sears’ CEO Embraces Hybrid Retailing
In line with the growth of multi-channel retailing, Lou D’Ambrosio, CEO of Sears Holding Corps., stated a creative blend of technological innovations and in-store investment is the best way to boost the profits of the ailing US department store.
In late December 2011, Sears announced that it would be closing as many as 120 stores in response to declining sales figures. But D’Ambrosio believes that turning Sears’ fortunes around will depend on embracing technological capabilities (both in-store and online) in conjunction with a much deeper investigation of new consumer spending and product preferences.
Each year, Sears technicians make 17 million visits to customers’ homes and communicate even more frequently with shoppers online and by phone to gather more information about customers’ buying patterns and product preferences. On top of this, more than 5,000 iPads and 11,000 iPod Touches have been distributed to Sears’ in-store salespeople for the purpose of tracking inventory and customer orders.
While D’Ambrosio said Sears would be investing in the appearance of stores, he also commented that this was no longer sufficient on its own. The retailer will therefore invest in digital innovations, with a specific focus on integrating web and mobile services. Sears has also appointed Ron Boire, former president and chief executive of US retailer Brookstone, in a newly created central role that oversees merchandise.
For more on multi-channel retailing, see our upcoming report next week.