While Sears’ sales are still sliding, the company says its apparel lines are doing better, and that it is introducing a collection of men’s fashions branded with Outdoor Life.
The hunting and fishing duds -- part of a new partnership with Bonnier, which owns the magazine -- are scheduled to arrive in stores in September. The line targets a “guy’s guy” with clothes that include cotton flannel shirts, thermal crews, Henley shirts, hooded fleece zip jackets, and cotton canvas cargo pants.
While stores and magazines have joined forced before -- Kohl’s has an extensive collection of products branded with Elle, for example, and JC Penney has a relationships with Cosmopolitan as well as a line named for the now-defunct Modern Bride -- this is Sears’ first store-exclusive brand created for the outdoorsman.
The clothes will be sold in heavily branded in-store areas called the Outdoor Life shop. Outdoor Life intends to promote the line with a comprehensive marketing campaign that includes coverage in the magazine, as well as consumer events and digital advertising.
Meanwhile, the Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based holding company says it expects its first-quarter net income to be between $155 million and $195 million, fueled by $235 million in selling off certain of its U.S. and Canadian stores. It also says its sales are still dropping, and that it is expecting to announce a 1.3% decline in comparable-store sales, with Sears’ U.S. stores falling 1% and Kmart dropping 1.6%. (In Canada, Sears stores sales fell 6.2%.)
But it did say it “achieved double-digit increases in its apparel and footwear categories.
Sears is also rolling its new Sandra by Sandra Lee collection into stores now, including with cookware, utensils, gadgets, bakeware, small kitchen appliances, tabletop items and storage solutions.
Separately, the company announced a new pet medication program in its Kmart division, in order to offer one-stop shopping for pet needs. By purchasing a pet medication at any Kmart Pharmacy, customers will get a Purina Beneful Baked Delight or Purina Cat Treat.