Sears mounts Christmas offensive; giant retailer will concentrate on holiday theme and expand hours

Flush from the initial success of the imageladen “softer side of Sears” fashion campaign, the Sears Merchandise Group is trying out an expansive holiday marketing theme a standard practice for other retailers but a break with tradition for Sears.
The $32 billion chain is wrapping the season’s marketing efforts with the theme, “home for the holidays,” and implementing expanded shopping hours-another advantage its competitors have long employed. “It’s accurate for me to say Sears will have its most unified holiday marketing in years,” said Sears Merchandise Group svp/marketing John Costello.
Sears is hiking ad spending 15% to support the expanded campaign from Ogilvy & Mather/ Chicago. Last year, the retailer spent in excess of $60 million pushing Christmas fare. An image spot with the new theme broke Thanksgiving night during the Sears Family Theater broadcast of Home Alone on NBC. Sears also is sponsoring NBC’s broadcast of E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial, and Spanish versions of the two family movies on Telemundo.
The “home for the holidays” signature will appear on some 60 TV spots. It re-appears in catalogues, print ads and news circulars, where Sears is showcasing merchandise in homelike settings and using models. In the past, products were shot head-on against plain backgrounds.
Sears stores will be open until from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. between now and Christmas Eve. Sears is hoping to keep the momentum going in a year in which profits have risen to $441 million during the first nine months (compared to an $8 million loss during the same period in 1992). The crucial holiday shopping season accounts for approximately 40% of retail sales.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)