Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sears revives buyer protection plan

Sears has a new KidVantage Club program that offers “user” protection to parents. The program will replace an apparel item that wears out before a child outgrows it.

It’s an interesting idea, especially at a time when parents are looking to extend the value of their investment in their children. But it’s not the first time Sears has tried this tactic. Some 20 years ago Sears made the same offer for its Toughskins denim children’s line. That guarantee failed to excite sufficient allegiance during a period when the appeal of brand name jeans -- even for toddlers -- far outweighed Sears’ private-label offering.

This time Sears has extended buyer protection to almost all labels carried. In addition, buyers will receive 15% discounts on future purchases once they buy $100 worth of clothing or shoes.

Sears is pushing in-store activity. KidVantage can be accessed only through a store visit. It’s not available online. Considering that comp-store sales tumbled 9.5% in 2008, and an even greater 11% in the fourth quarter, Sears might have felt compelled to do something to generate more in-store traffic.

— Murray Forseter

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