Sears redesigns its stores to lure minority shoppers

HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL: Sears, Roebuck & Co. is embarking on an ambitious effort to expand its appeal among minority shoppers.

HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL: Sears, Roebuck & Co. is embarking on an ambitious effort to expand its appeal among minority shoppers.

The retail giant is redesigning 97 of its 870 full-line stores to make them more accessible to African-American, Latino, and Asian-American shoppers. The new designs stem from a two-year study on customer buying patterns that suggested Sears did not carry appropriate sizes and styles to appeal to certain minority consumers.

Other changes include bilingual signage and sales associates to assist Latino shoppers.

A new manager of multicultural PR, Jessica Priego, was brought on board October 4 to support the effort.

The redesign had its official launch earlier this month with a Miami event targeting the local Latino community. Carolina Bacardi, heiress to the Bacardi Rum family, was brought in for the opening RL Public Relations (RLPR) in LA provided support for the Miami party and might do the same with a New York opening aimed at African-American consumers. Priego said that Sears was collaborating closely with RLPR to decide the appropriate next step in the campaign.

Currently under way is an outreach effort to African-American press. Molly Ireland, an SVP with RLPR, heads a three-person Sears team at the agency.

Priego was previously the VP of multicultural marketing at Ogilvy. She said she took the new position because she wanted "to take everything I know and apply it to an iconic American brand," she said. "It just felt like an incredible fit."

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