Sears is launching Showcase at Sears, a shop-in-shop experience that features established and popular international fashion brands, the struggling retailer said Tuesday.
The 10,000 to 15,000 square-foot Showcase at Sears boutiques, launching in five New York-area stores this fall, will feature apparel for men, women and children as well as women's shoes, intimates and handbags.
Showcase apparel styles will range from fast fashion and fitness to contemporary sportswear and professional looks, with prices ranging from $10 to $175, Sears added.
Sears took a beating early this year when a survey released by Prosper Analytics & Insights revealed that just 1% of American shoppers called the chain their favorite place for apparel. In terms of shopper preference share for women’s clothing in particular, Sears dropped 53% year over year: In fact, at the end of 2015 Sears ranked 15th overall among women's apparel favorites, behind nonprofit chain Goodwill, according to Prosper data.
Sears, once very much a go-to place for apparel and many other items on Americans’ shopping lists, has swiftly responded with a plan to create boutiques within stores, an approach that has worked well at Best Buy, J.C. Penney, and Nordstrom.
"We are creating an experience for our members unlike anything in the U.S. retail industry — a fashion-forward, shop-in-shop apparel collection featuring established and popular international fashion brands," David Pastrana, Sears Holdings' president of apparel, said in a statement. "Showcase at Sears gives our members access to fresh international trends, styles and fashions at an affordable price — and only found at Sears.”
That kind of differentiation is key these days as apparel has lost luster as a retail segment, with everyone from off-price retailers to department stores and Amazon enticing shoppers with similar styles at promotional prices.
"These curated collections are a perfect complement to our existing apparel assortment and offer exposure to brands you'd otherwise have to travel internationally to try on," Joelle Maher, president and chief member officer for Sears, said in a statement. "Not only will our members love the fashion and selection, they'll love the unique space we're building out in each store. It will be inviting, high energy, and staffed with knowledgeable associates dedicated to serving members who shop the Showcase.” If that’s true, shoppers may indeed respond... as long as Sears can get them to go there in the first place.