Sears Outlet – the story of success
Sears is an American chain of international department stores, founded by Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck in the late 19th century. Richard Sears was a railroad station agent in Minnesota when he received a shipment of watches from a Chicago jeweler. Sears purchased the shipment himself and sold the watches at a nice profit to other station agents and then ordered more for resale. Soon he started a business selling watches through mail order catalogs. The next year, he moved to Chicago where he met Alvah C. Roebuck, who joined him in the business. In 1893, the corporate business name became Sears, Roebuck and Co. Farmers typically bought supplies at very high prices from local general stores. Sears took advantage of this situation by publishing his catalog with clearly stated prices, so that consumers could know what they are getting and at what price, and how to order and obtain them conveniently. The catalog business became popular very quickly. By end of the year 1894 the Sears catalog grew to 322 pages, now featuring sewing machines, bicycles, sporting goods, and a host of other new items.
The first Sears outlet was opened in Chicago in the year 1925 at Homan Avenue. This store included an optical shop and a soda fountain. Slowly many of the outlets thronged up the entire US. In 1929 Sears took over the department store business of Becker-Ryan Company. After World War II, the company built many department stores in suburban shopping malls. The company was the largest retailer in the United States until the early 1980s. Sears diversified and became a conglomerate during the mid-20th century. It established several major brands of products. It purchased Dean Witter and Coldwell Banker real estate in 1981, and started what became Prodigy as a joint venture with IBM in 1984. It also introduced the Discover credit card in 1985.
The largest Sears outlet in the world, operated by Sears Canada in the Toronto Eaton Centre, the largest American store is located near the Sears headquarters at Woodsfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois. The current subsidiaries of the company are the Sears Full-Line, Sears Grand, Sears Hardware, Sears Dealer Store, Sears Outlet etc. Sears Full-Line is a chain of mid-range department stores that are located in shopping malls. Sears stores are usually multi-level. Sears Grand is a chain of hypermarkets typically located away from shopping malls. They carry everything a regular Sears carries, plus health and beauty products, toys, baby care, cleaning supplies, home décor, pet food, cards and party supplies, books, magazines, music, movies, and a full-line of groceries. Sears Appliance & Hardware is a chain of hardware stores that carry the whole line of Sears’s hardware. Sears Dealer Store is a chain of smaller stores that are operated as franchises. Sears Outlet is an outlet version of Sears department stores located in outlet malls and stand alone strip malls fading out these stores ranged from the specialized, just appliances, to full merchandise. Beside these operations the company has many other businesses also.