Sears streamlines green consumer rebates
Hoffman Estates, Ill. Sears Holdings introduced a new online program Tuesday that will educate consumers about the millions of dollars available in rebates when they purchase ENERGY STAR-rated products. The retailer is also helping shoppers get rebates quicker.
The retailer launched the ENERGY STAR Rebate Center, a user-friendly research portal that is available in most Sears full-line stores. Specially designated Sears associates will walk customers through the process online while they are still in the store. This eliminates the need for shoppers to take tear pad sheets home and mail in their rebates, and it also promises to speed up the receipt of rebates.
For customers who prefer to research their appliance purchases online and determine the maximum rebate available, the retailer is inviting shoppers to visit sears.com/appliances.
What to make of consumer behavior
Florida, supposedly, has the nation’s highest rate of home foreclosure activity and its tourism-based economy is said to be struggling, as fewer people take vacations to theme-parks. There may be truth to both points, but other anecdotal evidence point to a consumer that is willing to spend and is apparently unfazed by relentless news reports of an impending global economic meltdown. For example, Target’s new SuperTarget store in the tourist Mecca of Kissimmee, Fla. enjoyed heavy customer traffic throughout its grand opening on Sunday, March 8, with most of its 20 checkout lanes open. Aggressive promotions and coupons direct mailed to nearby residents helped generate traffic, but there were plenty of tourists on hand too judging from the number of sunburned customers wearing flip flops. Sam’s Club enjoyed a similar experience, without the tourist element, when it opened a new club on Jan. 22 near the sprawling retirement community of Lady Lake, about an hour northwest of Orlando. The club had the highest opening day sales of any Sam’s unit, ever. Additional evidence of consumers’ willingness to spend was evident when the Florida State Fair convened in Tampa beginning Feb. 5. Despite record cold temperatures during the beginning of the event’s 12-day run and admission prices that increased to $12 from $10, the total attendance of 465,000 was off only 5% from the prior year.
Cornell named CEO of Sam’s Club
BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores has named Brian Cornell will become president and CEO of its Sam’s Club division, effective April 3. Cornell replaces Doug McMillon, who became president and CEO of Wal-Mart International on Feb. 1, and will report to Mike Duke, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores.
“In searching for our new Sam’s Club CEO, we wanted a leader who is strong, talented and people-oriented,” said Duke. “We also wanted someone with broad experience in retail management, food merchandising and consumer product marketing. Above all, we looked for a leader who would live up to our brand and our culture. We found all of these things in Brian.”
Cornell most recently served as CEO of Michael’s Stores. Prior to that, he was EVP and chief marketing officer for Safeway, where he was responsible for the company’s marketing, merchandising and distribution operations, as well as its online home delivery business.