Desperate in July, Sears Looks to Santa for Bailout

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2009 10:30 AM CDT
"Career" Santas are seen on sale in a Kmart store, Dec. 19, 2005, in Norridge, Ill.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Sears is taking the “Christmas in July” trope to a whole new level. With June retail sales tumbling, the company is looking for a boost by selling actual Christmas products, Time reports. Soon, 372 Sears stores will roll out displays hawking tree ornaments, stocking stuffers, and other decidedly off-season wares. Online, Kmart and Sears invites customers to “Shop Christmas Lane.”

“Customers told us they wish they had seen some of our merchandise earlier,” said a Sears spokeswoman. “People are buying earlier.” Many analysts think the buzz generated by the unusual move is a reward in and of itself. But others say it sends the wrong message. “It looks more like desperation than inspiration,” said one retail-group exec.