Nothing is working for Sears. They have tried to make acquisitions, switched marketing strategies several times, tested new formats, and reconfigured stores. Sears is a 814-store chain that lost $3.11 billion last year. In fact, cash flows are negative, same-store sales have been falling for a decade, and they have been abandoning parts of themselves to raise cash.
In other words, Sears is desperate and the only way to change perceptions is to do something extremely bold like changing their name. The Sears name makes people think of the place their grandparents used to shop. A new name would give Sears a fresh start with consumers and help them land trendy fashion lines that they haven’t been able to because they are perceived as outdated.
Sears Spokesman, Chris Brathwaite, does not embrace a name change. He calls it absured to think of changing a 126-year-old brand name that means something to people. He says Sears is concentrating on improving its merchandise, store layouts, and service. He also emphasizes that apparel has been a strong business for Sears in recent years.
However, many do not agree with Brathwaite. Sears did not make the 2012 list of 100 top global brands ranked by Millward Brown Inc., while several competing retailers did. “The problem with Sears is they have absolutely no brand-share in the mind of the consumer,” said Nik Contis, global director of naming for Siegel & Gale. And, “An older brand name can become so freighted with negative associations that sometimes it’s better to move on to a new brand, rather than try to revitalize it,” says Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Do you think Sears should change its name?