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Sears Seeking Spotlight After Sales Slump

Sears Canada, once the stomping ground of the Brady Bunch and the 40-year-old middle-management shopper, is getting a makeover. Or at least a few of its clothing lines are.

First, its in-house shoe collection — that is, Nevada and Attitude footwear for men and women, and Jessica brand for women — will be given new life and soles thanks to Aldo, who'll be redesigning and manufacturing the new kicks. The revitalized brands will be available in Sears stores across Canada and through its Direct formats beginning with the Fall 2013 season.

David Bensadoun, President of Aldo Global Retail & Aldo Product Services adds, "We are excited to begin working with Sears on their private label brands. The combination of our footwear expertise and Sears impressive retail network will create value for the consumer. We look forward to seeing a very positive reaction this Fall season."

In other departments, Buffalo International Inc. will design and produce Sears Canada’s entire line of Nevada denim-based apparel for both women and men. The Nevada lifestyle brand as interpreted by Buffalo will encompass men's and women's apparel and be available in Sears stores beginning in Fall 2013.

"As we focus on improving our merchandise offering, we are exploring relationships with best-in-class designers to help us improve the fashionability and salability of our key brands, and Buffalo represents that elevated level of product in the denim-casual category," said Calvin McDonald, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sears Canada Inc. "The 25-45 age range is a key segment for us to reach as we continue our transformation journey to become relevant to more Canadians coast to coast, and we expect that Buffalo's design and sourcing capability will help us attract these customers more successfully."

Reaching new demographics has been one of Sears Canada's top priorities in recent years as more "fast fashion" stores make their way North from the States (cough, Target). In 2011, the retailer teamed with silver-haired Toronto-born personality Jay Manuel of America’s Next Top Model fame. Not only did he take over as creative director of Sears Canada’s rebranded private label collection, Attitude Jay Manuel, but he also hosted featured presentations of the line at Fashion Week in Toronto.

Even so, is this overhaul too little too late for Sears and its dwindling sales? As one commentator writes on CTV News' website, "This will not save you Sears! Take a look at your prices… stop trying to make believe that you're a high end retailer… I am continually in awe at the prices you charge for items that can be found much cheaper at all of your competitors."

Meanwhile, The Bay, arguably Sears' top competition when it comes to clothing, is making strides with its partnerships with Jeanne Beker, as well as landing exclusive rights to Topshop, Topman, and Madonna's Material Girl collection. But in the way that The Bay went after Holt Renfrew, it looks as though Sears is coming hot on HBC's heels. Mirror, mirror on the wall, which store is the most fabulous of them all?

Images via Sears and Jay Manuel