Sears Talks Private Brands in Q3 2012 Earnings Call

This past Thursday, November 15, 2012 beleaguered retailer Sears held its Q3 2012 Earnings Call. The call included executives: William K. Phelan – Senior Vice President of Finance, Louis J. D’Ambrosio – Chief Executive Officer, President, Director, Member of Stock Plan Committee and Member of Finance Committee, Robert A. Schriesheim – Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Ronald D. Boire – Chief Merchandising Officer, Executive Vice President and President of Sears Full Line Stores & Kmart Formats and Imran Jooma. As well as a host of analysts quizzing the Sears executives from: BofA Merrill Lynch, Crédit Suisse AG, Morningstar Inc., ISI Group Inc., CRT Capital Group LLC and Morgan Stanley.

Ronald D. Boire – Chief Merchandising Officer, Executive Vice President and President of Sears Full Line Stores & Kmart Formats who started with the retailer almost 10 months ago addressed 3 hey areas in which Sears is seeking to drive action.

  1. Improving the merchandise assortment
  2. Enhancing the customer experience
  3. Winning the 2012 holiday season

He went on to highlight a number of licensed, exclusive and Private Brand success stories:

We continue to focus on the cornerstone brands within our portfolio, such as Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard, the pillars on which our brand strategies are built. In addition to these strategic brands, we are sharpening our assortment, have launched important product lines and brands, many exclusively available at Sears and Kmart.

A few highlights include, together with Outdoor Life Magazine, we have created an exclusive brand that is housed in nearly 800 Outdoor Life shops at Sears stores nationwide. These shops feature a compelling assortment of casual and performance apparel, geared towards men and the outdoor lifestyle, while offering function and comfort at a value.

Outdoor Life is off to a great start, exceeding our plans by double digits, with categories like flannel, up over 40%. Merchandise improvements like Outdoor Life have resulted in 5 consecutive quarters of comp-store sales growth for Sears Apparel.

Last month, our consumer electronics team launched Alphaline, our exclusive Sears Holdings brand of quality, high-quality consumer electronics, headphones and accessories. Sold at both Sears and Kmart, Alphaline was crafted to offer incredible styles and performance at a great value. We are experiencing double-digit increases in the Alphaline categories since their launch.

Last quarter, we also launched Tempur-Pedic mattresses in select stores nationwide. With the addition of one of the biggest names in mattresses, we have built on our already strong business and added a product line that our members are responding to. We’ve also expanded our mattress space in 150 of our Sears locations, which is producing comp-store sales increases of over 10% for the category.

As the nation’s number one fitness retailer, we have exclusively offered NordicTrack equipment to our customers and members. This year, we became the exclusive national retailer of Sole, of Sole equipment in Full-line Sears stores. We’re also proud of this year’s fitness flagships, which offer our customers and members a complete fitness destination. These new launches are in addition to our strong celebrity brands such as Sandra Lee, Sofia Vergara, the Kardashian Kollection , Jaclyn Smith and Selena Gomez, just to name a few.

Source: Seeking Alpha

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.