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Two retail no-shows on TV this past holiday season

BY Marianne Wilson

In an unusual move for a big national chain, Sears Holdings pulled a disappearing act on television during the just-passed holiday season.

The embattled retailer has not run any commercials on national television for its namesake or Kmart brands since late November, according to ad research firm iSpot. By comparison, Macy’s bought $32 million in national TV ads during the first 29 days of December, and J.C. Penney spent roughly $27 million, iSpot estimates indicate.

The lack of TV advertising during the retail industry’s most crucial selling season is being seen as highly unusual, even in today’s digital age, and was seen by some observers as a sign of Sears’ ongoing financial troubles. However, in a statement to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the move, Sears said it is constantly “evaluating the effectiveness” of different marketing venues.

“This ongoing evaluation has meant we have made significant shifts over the past few years in where we’ve allocated our resources, including less traditional print and television, and more digital and social channels,” the statement added.

The decision, according to the Journal, came from Sears CEO Edward Lampert, over the objections of other executives.

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