After halting house paint sales in 2012, Sears is reintroducing paint in 23 U.S. stores, with plans to expand the effort to all of its retail locations over the coming months.
In addition to offering Craftsman-branded house paint for the first time, Sears is also bringing back its Weatherbeater exterior and Easy Living interior brands. Sears is reviving previously popular products as well as introducing new products, and said stores will leverage new paint-mixing technology.
Meanwhile, Sears Holdings-owned Kmart announced the opening of a “revitalized and refreshed” concept store in Des Plaines, IL, part of an ongoing marketing and rebranding initiative to provide enhanced, new and exclusive offerings aimed at millennial shoppers.
Less than a week ago, Sears Holdings reported yet another quarterly nightmare, posting Q2 same-store sales declines of 3.3% at Kmart stores and 7% at Sears stores. Revenue fell 8.8% to $5.66 billion in what CEO Edward Lampert called “a challenging competitive environment.” The company also said that it will receive $300 million of additional debt financing secured by a junior lien against inventory, receivables and other working capital from Lampert’s hedge fund ESL Investments.
Sears Holdings' trouble in the last several years is prompting many observers to write its obituary. But although it’s closed hundreds of stores and has struggled to clean up remaining stores and their merchandise, the iconic retailer is not going quietly. Its Sears Shop Your Way rewards program has met with much success, buoyed by omnichannel efforts like curbside pickup that take advantage of the retailer’s still-large U.S. physical store footprint.
Now Sears is taking advantage of the longstanding appeal of its Craftsman brand and its house paint products to draw shoppers back in at a time when home improvement retail is enjoying something of a boom, thanks to consumers who consider spending on their homes to be an investment rather than a splurge.
“After stepping away from the paint business in 2012, we are seeing the demand from our customers to bring it back,” Dean Schwartz, vice president of Tools, Lawn and Garden at Sears, said in a statement. “With updated paint mixing technology, and by enlisting dedicated and trained associates, we are confident the time is right to re-enter the category and fill a need for our members.”
And Kmart’s new “Whole Lotta Awesome” effort in Illinois is another gasp for air, one that acknowledges how retailers must fashion their stores to appeal to millennials expecting something more than stuff on shelves. The Des Plaines store touts Shoparazzi (a free personal concierge service that collects items from Shop Your Way members' shopping lists), a new beauty bar, an upgraded pharmacy and the 'Happy to Help' customer service center, which includes a kid's shop offering toys and candy available for purchase via Shop Your Way points.
“Our goal is to deliver the best value, price, product and experience, and in doing so, we believe our members will keep coming back for more of a Whole Lotta Awesome!" Kmart CMO Kelly Cook said in a statement. The company, of course, must also make consumers "believe."