Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 9, 2013 02:06 PM
Hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert has made enough smart choices to become a billionaire, but one decision has surely been haunting him for some time now. When he decided to combine Kmart and Sears back in 2005 for $11 billion, there was no way he’d know that it would mean a continued downward spiral for his new company.
After all, Sears and Kmart were once retail titans. Now they are slowly being crushed by the likes of Walmart, Target, and online retailers of all stripes.
Sears, of course, has been doing all it can to survive. The company has tested localized personal shopping, taken its in-house brands – Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard – out of house, sold its Canadian real-estate holdings in October for $383 million, and even set up a whole section on its website using “undead” models to appeal to younger consumers. But nothing has turned it around.
Now Sears Holdings will follow through on an idea it floated back in October: spinning off clothing retailer Land’s End. According to the Chicago Tribune, the spinoff “will not raise cash for Sears but will allow Lampert to more efficiently chart a course for the two businesses, which compete for management time and capital within the Sears group.” Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 9, 2013 09:19 AM
American Airlines and US Airways set to take off as a new company after final Supreme Court action.
Audi saw 7-percent rise in November sales on China, US demand.
Chick-fil-A has been making "stealthful" health changes.
Compuware prompts joint bid by private-equity firms.
Domino's looks to India to supplant UK as second-largest market.
EADS to cut 6,000 jobs, report says.
Fiat sets to invest $12 billion in brand and plant revival, report says.
Google, Microsoft lead group of tech giants urging limits on government surveillance.
GM pares production in problematic South Korea and Australia markets. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 6, 2013 09:14 AM
Sears files to spin off Lands' End as company's struggles disenchant investors.
Nike features Man-U's Wayne Rooney in ads for new soccer ball as spokesman LeBron James hinders efforts to market his own new shoe.
Spotify introduces free mobile music service.
Dell offers employee buyouts to cut costs.
Electronic Arts refocuses to fix Battlefield bugs.
Ford pulls off lavish global launch of new Mustang and promises a convertible too, while company scion says CEO Alan Mulally isn't leaving next year.
GM may pull production out of Australia soon.
Hershey introduces Jolly Rancher in India.
Honda uses dealer cash incentives to push for better December than last year.
JCPenney discloses SEC peek into its finances.
Jaguar Land Rover plans Brazil output beginning in 2016.
NBC surveys feedback on The Sound of Music live telecast that featured tight integration with Walmart ads.
Nestle continues streamlining with sale of 10-percent stake in Givaudan flavor house.
Nissan crafts promotional car-design experience based on digital goggles.
Quiznos slows into a financial crisis.
Tesla dodges bullet aimed at its plan to sell in Ohio.
Unilever plans to cut SKUs by up to 30 percent and slash marketing headcount by 12 percent.
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 27, 2013 07:02 PM
Thanksgiving is a time to share with loved ones, express gratitude, and take stock of the ad frenzy that is holiday shopping. And with brands turning the clock forward on Black Friday promos, marketing teams are in an all-out race to grab the attention of savings-hungry consumers.
According to research from Shareablee, of the top 25 retailers on Facebook in the first half of November, Walmart accounted for 27 percent of the total shares by fans, followed by QVC with 9 percent, and Macy’s and Nordstrom at 8 percent. On Twitter, BestBuy is dominant with 30 percent of retweets in the category, followed by Nordstrom at 9 percent, Ebay and Target at 8 percent respectively and Walmart at 6 percent.
Target has outpaced all retail competition with six times more Black Friday posts than any other brand, while JCPenney’s one Black Friday post earned the highest level of engagement with over 54,000 likes, comments and shares.
Are you planning on braving the crowds? If so, here's some offers to keep an eye out for:Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 25, 2013 07:47 PM
Kmart has attracted enormous attention and generated lots of pithy remarks with its latest pun-ny TV ad, "Show Your Joe," which features six underwear-clad men ringing hand bells and "tolling" the stuff under their shorts to music as well, in no uncertain terms. But are the ads really giving Kmart a bigger share of holiday spending, or even selling more of the Joe Boxer briefs featured in the ad?
As Kmart struggles—even more than most other US retailers—with stagnant sales and fading brand equity, the temptation to push the envelope in its advertising even further was just too great for the Sears-owned brand and its agency, DraftFCB. Over the last several months, Kmart managed to create lots of buzz with earlier tongue-in-cheek commercial treatments titled "Ship My Pants" (say it out loud) and "Big Gas Savings" (likewise).
But "Show Your Joe" leaves nothing to enunciation or imagination. Wearing tuxedo jackets on top and only Joe Boxer briefs on the bottom, the guys swivel their hips ringing out "Jingle Bells" while things violently sway back and forth under their shorts. No surprise that the ad had received more than 13.5 million hits on YouTube as of Nov. 25.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 21, 2013 09:21 AM
Chrysler eyes December IPO.
LG investigates "unauthorized spying" claims.
Microsoft builds line of products, apparel around "Scroogled" marketing campaign.
Abercrombie & Fitch reports loss on weak sales.
British Airways fields billboard ads that interact with planes overhead.
CCTV grapples with ad slowdown in China.
Foursquare opens up home screen to big brands.
IKEA is investigated in France for labor issue.
McDonald's plans no national launch for McRib this year.
Mondelez invests $100 million in Czech biscuit plant and expands presence in Pakistan.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 6, 2013 04:55 PM
What happens when commerce trumps tradition? A lot of angry consumers (and employees).
That's what major retailers Kmart, Macy's, Walmart, Kohl's and others are finding out as they continue to blur the line between the Thanksgiving holiday and the major shopping event that is Black Friday. Kmart has put itself in the line of fire as it recently announced that it will open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open for 41 straight hours through 11 p.m. Friday. Sears, too, will open up at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open through Friday, while Macy's bowed under pressure and for the first time, will open its US stores on Thanksgiving evening. Last year, Target fielded a steady stream of backlash after announcing it would open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.
The trend is no doubt a reaction to the sluggish retail market as brands fear the lack of spending will continue through the 2013 holiday season. Brands are so worried, in fact, that they are not only launching their holiday campaigns early, but also their special holiday deals. Walmart kicked off its online promotion last week—one month earlier than usual.
But their concerns aren't unfounded. A National Foundation for Credit Counseling poll found that 53 percent of shoppers plan to spend less on holiday gift giving this year than they did in 2012, with one-third planning to spend nothing and only 3 percent intending to spend more.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 29, 2013 05:27 PM
It doesn't feel like that long ago that Sears and Kmart stood astride American retailing like twin Goliaths, and Walmart and Target were the pipsqueaks Davids. Now comes yet another reminder of how far the two erstwhile leaders—since sadly intertwined in one fading company—have fallen and how close they are to disappearing into the dustbin of US brand greatness.
Sears is now weighing spinning off its Lands’ End brand and auto-center units from the company to raise cash amid dwindling revenue and to focus more on its Sears and Kmart stores. The company already has sold leases for its flagship stores in Canada and is continuing to evaluate all US retail locations.
“How much more muscle can you cut?” Paul Swinand, an analyst for Morningstar in Sears’ hometown of Chicago, said to Bloomberg, about the unprofitable retailer controlled by Edward Lampert. Sears’ survival tale has been obscured lately only by the relative roller-coaster ride taken by long-time rival JCPenney.Continue reading...