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Showcase at Sears?

Here’s a clever way to more effectively use excess big box store space:  Develop a destination section that brings together an exclusive set of unique, fashionable apparel and accessory brands that were previously unavailable in the market:  a great idea.  Surprisingly, Sears announced yesterday that they are doing just that.   In five East Coast Sears stores, the company will carve out a 10,000 sq. ft. “Showcase” section highlighting 10 brands from Latin America and Europe.   Participating brands range from familiar labels like Mango, that recently abandoned their shop-in-shop venture with JCPenney, to brands very new to the U.S. like Ilusión and Fiorentina – two intimates labels from Mexico.

Sears Holdings/PR Newswire

Sears Holdings/PR Newswire

This all seems compelling but there are reasons to be skeptical.  The assortment is far from cohesive as Showcase will offer everything from bright Latin fashion at a low price point, to expensive and functional Danish menswear label, Jack & Jones .  It’s unclear what target customer group this is meant to attract.

Raising awareness about Showcase and convincing customers to cross the threshold into a Sears store to check it out will be another challenge.  Once they are there who will be selling these products?  Hopefully Sears will learn from JCPenney’s missteps and will have sales people and selling tools that are equipped for the job – ready to help customers understand the fit and features of these unique products.

Great retailing today requires more than outstanding products – it’s delivered through a combination of great product along with a differentiated brand position, great execution and a customer experience that connects with the target customer – and that’s after you get the customer to enter your store either physically or digitally.

Good luck Sears – We hope it is a winner – it’s been a long time since there’s been a success story to celebrate coming out of Hofmann Estates.


McMillanDoolittle is a premier international retail consultancy bringing deep experience with world class clients. Our partners have extensive experience interpreting the retail marketplace and converting insights into successful strategies. We help clients develop innovative solutions in strategy development, the customer experience, new concepts, brand performance, retail performance improvement and retail intelligence services.

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