Sears Holdings — owner of both Sears and Kmart — is throwing all the spaghetti against the wall to see if something sticks that can save their company in the face of massive store closings in 2018.
The newest venture? A mini Kmart inside of Sears. I mean, marrying department store items and convenience items worked for Walmart and Target. And Sears is desperate to be profitable again.
But will it actually work?
If you could buy toothpaste or shampoo at Sears, would you shop there more often?
Sears has fingers and toes crossed that you will, because last weekend they opened a mini Kmart store inside a Sears store in Brooklyn.
The hope is that offering customers more of a one-stop shopping experience will attract customers that otherwise wouldn’t shop at Sears. And retain customers who currently shop Sears but have to go elsewhere for convenience items.
Sears also plans to open large appliance shops inside select Kmarts.
It’s a common move for bigger retailers to open up a small in-house “store” under a different name or to downsize the entire store.
For example, over the past year, Sears has also tested small locations that sell only mattresses and large appliances. And next, they’re trying out another angle: opening up large appliance shops inside some Kmarts.
Can Shop Your Way members save Sears?
One thing Sears and Kmart have going for them is the Shop Your Way rewards program. You can often get free merchandise at Sears and Kmart when you know how to shop.
Shop Your Way has a loyal following that could tip scales for Sears if they play it right.
What is Sears’ end game?
Of course, there’s no way to be certain right now, but it seems like Sears and Kmart are dancing around a full merging of Kmart and Sears, and all of these tests are an attempt to learn how to organize the merchandise in a way customers like best for maximum profitability.
Right now, it’s hard to say where Sears will land, but one thing is for sure: they’re looking for ways to do more with less real estate so they can shed debt and get back in the retail game.