According to industry insider Twice Magazine, Sears stores are going to be stocking consumer electronics again. The retailer is reputedly re-embracing consumer products after it posted low margins, and its pursuit of smart home tech led to CE abandonment more than three years ago. At that time, the chain began shifting its traditional TV-centric assortment into a more holistic, connected-solutions approach under then category president Ryan Ciovacco.

Even though Sears remains committed to smart home  (and Ciovacco now heads the company’s Wally Labs sensors and services subsidiary), Dean Schwartz, president of hardlines for Sears Holdings, thinks it’s time to re-enter mainstream tech, although this time more profitably.

Following what he described as “a substantial pullback” in CE that led to steep same-store sales declines, Schwartz began rebuilding Sears’ electronics assortment last fall by leveraging two-step distribution and third-party sellers. (Kmart, he said, never really exited the category.) “We’re definitely getting back into the CE business, just in a different, more profitable way,” he told TWICE.

To date, 175 of Sears’ 570 stores now feature what Schwartz described as “a relatively wide selection” of TVs, headphones and accessories, and another 45 locations are expected to join the tech brigade by early May. “It’s a smaller assortment than Best Buy’s,” he said, “but it’s larger than it was five months ago and is considerably expanded online, where there’s a much broader range.”

Sears has reentered the gaming business with console, headphone and accessories bundles online, and is matching up Apple iMacs, MacBooks and Mac Minis with cases, headphones, cords and other accessories to create computer packages that sell for upwards of $3,600. Both categories are provided by distributors.“We saw an opportunity,” said Schwartz, who is considering additional Sears stores for CE conversion.

Still, it’s a long way from Sears’ “Brand Central” days, when the chain went toe-to-toe with past CE leaders like Circuit City and Montgomery Ward, based on its wide assortment of tier-one tech.

What are your experiences of tech purchases at Sears? Will you go back to buying at Sears, or are there other bricks-and-mortar outlets you prefer? Let us know in the comments. below.

 

 

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Martin Dew

Sears Goes Back to Selling Consumer Electronics Again



According to industry insider Twice Magazine, Sears stores are going to be stocking consumer electronics again. The retailer is reputedly re-embracing consumer products after the retailer posted low margins, and its pursuit of smart home tech led to its abandonment more than three years ago. At that time, the chain began shifting its traditional TV-centric assortment into a more holistic, connected-solutions approach under then category president Ryan Ciovacco.

Even though Sears remains committed to smart home (and Ciovacco now heads the company’s Wally Labs sensors and services subsidiary), Dean Schwartz, president of hardlines for Sears Holdings, thinks it’s time to re-enter mainstream tech, although this time more profitably.

Following what he described as “a substantial pullback” in CE that led to steep same-store sales declines, Schwartz began rebuilding Sears’ electronics assortment last fall by leveraging two-step distribution and third-party sellers. (Kmart, he said, never really exited the category.) “We’re definitely getting back into the CE business, just in a different, more profitable way,” he told TWICE.



To date, 175 of Sears’ 570 stores now feature what Schwartz described as “a relatively wide selection” of TVs, headphones and accessories, and another 45 locations are expected to join the tech brigade by early May. “It’s a smaller assortment than Best Buy’s,” he said, “but it’s larger than it was five months ago and is considerably expanded online, where there’s a much broader range.”

Sears has reentered the gaming business with console, headphone and accessories bundles online, and is matching up Apple iMacs, MacBooks and Mac Minis with cases, headphones, cords and other accessories to create computer packages that sell for upwards of $3,600. Both categories are provided by distributors.“We saw an opportunity,” said Schwartz, who is considering additional Sears stores for CE conversion.

Still, it’s a long way from Sears’ “Brand Central” days, when the chain went toe-to-toe with past CE leaders like Circuit City and Montgomery Ward, based on its wide assortment of tier-one tech.

What are your experiences of tech purchases at Sears? Will you go back to buying at Sears, or are there other bricks-and-mortar outlets you prefer? Let us know in the comments. below.
I have never purchased a tv from Sears but I did buy my first DVD player from them in 1999. If I recall they included a free dvd voucher with purchase of the Panasonic dvd player. It was motivating to buy from them.
 
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EricSchulz

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I'm glad they are filling up the empty space (which looks HORRIBLE) but is this any answer to their problems? They need a really good reason to get people back in their stores.
 

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In Canada, Sears farmed out all its repair and delivery services to disreputable private companies, charged huge prices for extended warrenties, abandoned or charged huge delivery charges for mail order catalogue purchases, and went bankrupt.

I believe all stores have closed here. I was once a loyal customer and bought everything I could there. Today, if they re-opened and had electronics, I would not patronize the store if everything was free.
 
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Yes, and then they tried to ensure that executives were paid "bonuses" (presumably for driving the company into the ground) while their employees lost their pensions.
 

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i went to Sears around Christmas to look around for a few things. It was really depressing. There was hardly anyone there, almost like I was shopping after the store had already closed and was the only one left inside. I didn't find much of anything I was looking for, and the few things I did find seemed quite expensive.

A recent trip to Kmart was much the same. Very few customers; only two checkouts open on Sunday afternoon. Went to Walmart after and did some comparisons. Most everything I bought at Kmart was significantly cheaper at Walmart (a bottle of the same brand vitamins was $9.99 at Kmart, only $6.96 at Walmart; a travel size of the same brand deodorant was $1.99 at Kmart, $1.26 at Walmart).

It's hard to find any reasons to go to either of these stores anymore, especially when prices for the exact same items are 30-50% less. I doubt a new selection of electronics will help that.
 

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I have to say this. The Kenmore microwave oven I bought at Sears for my newly renovated kitchen in 1982 still works perfectly and has never been repaired. I keep waiting for it to bite the dust so I can get a more modern one that's faster and has more features, but I've sworn I will use this one until it conks out (or I do)!
 

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I remember way back when. I mean way way back when. SEARS was the place to go.
But the days are long gone..
Definitely long gone. Last time I went to Sears was probably ten years ago. Needed a dishwasher. Not a single person to help me, it was deserted or everybody was on a break. Finally went to a small local store. Got a dishwasher and a few years later a new refrigerator. Customer service and install was fantastic. I'll never go back to Sears.
 

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In Canada, Sears farmed out all its repair and delivery services to disreputable private companies, charged huge prices for extended warrenties, abandoned or charged huge delivery charges for mail order catalogue purchases, and went bankrupt.

I believe all stores have closed here. I was once a loyal customer and bought everything I could there. Today, if they re-opened and had electronics, I would not patronize the store if everything was free.
In the last few years, the Mrs and I found the local Sears staff really snooty. One of her favorite pastimes growing up was to look through the Sears catalogue, but the last few times that I asked for one in store, they pretty much acted as if their catalogues were too precious to be given out, unless I was willing to make a large purchase (OK, I'm assuming that last part!). I don't imagine that sort of condescending attitude helped their in store business any!

CHEERS! :)
 
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I have to say this. The Kenmore microwave oven I bought at Sears for my newly renovated kitchen in 1982 still works perfectly and has never been repaired. I keep waiting for it to bite the dust so I can get a more modern one that's faster and has more features, but I've sworn I will use this one until it conks out (or I do)!
We still have a Kenmore Vacuum Cleaner that we purchased from Sears in the summer of 1993 when their local outlet was still by order only. It hasn't had as much use in the last decade, though!

CHEERS! :)
 
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disctrip

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They should close them all and all the Kmarts too !
I believe that is the plan. The K-mart here burned down during the fires we had in Santa Rosa in October and they are not re-building.
 
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First the Sears in my market closed its repair shop. Then it closed its auto repair shop. Then it rented out half of its downstairs to open a Whole Foods. And then, finally, the Sears in the remaining three-quarters closed.
 

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We still have a Kenmore Vacuum Cleaner that we purchased from Sears in the summer of 1993 when their local outlet was still by order only. It hasn't had as much use in the last decade, though!

CHEERS! :)
I've got a washer/dryer Kenmore set I bought in 1985, still working great. But the company has gone downhill for the last ten years or so. Same thing with K-Mart, how can things get so messed up? Greedy executives and stockholders that just destroy a corporation?
 

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They should close them all and all the Kmarts too !
All the K-Mart stores around here are closed, including the very first K-Mart store -- Store #1 -- which was located in the town I grew up in -- Garden City, Michigan. I went to that store a lot when I was a kid -- Garden City was a small town, only six square miles, so there wasn't much else there.

Sears was the place we went to buy Craftsman tools, with their lifetime warranty. I think there is still one open not too far from us, but I have not been there in years.
 

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Last thing I bought at Sears may have been my HDDVD player.
 
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