If Kim Kardashian couldn’t help Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) turn its retail operations around, what makes it think singer Adam Levine, or rapper-turned-American Idol judge Nikki Minaj, will do any better? The diminished stature of the once-venerable retailer is simply taken down yet another notch as it slaps a new pop icon face across its banner.
Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) is developing a new business unit called Shop Your Way Brands that focuses on entertainment-driven fashion and lifestyle brands, and the Levine-Minaj tag team duo represent the first two also-rans to populate the stage. I’m just not sure the “authentic personal style of iconic artists” is exactly what the typical Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) hopper is looking for.
Levine’s t-shirt and jeans might carry over, but exactly how that differentiates what Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) offers from the clothes found at Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is beyond me. And the big curves of Minaj seems to have already been tried with the Karadashian line, though perhaps the pink hair might be a new draw.
It’s easy to understand why Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) might want to hitch its wagon to celebrities, as revenues at the retailer continue to ebb away, dropping more than 4% in 2012, and down 25% since 2007, the last year it recorded a gain. The ShopYourWay social shopping experience drove over half of its revenues at Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) and Kmart in the fourth quarter and for all of last year. But its half of a quickly dwindling pie. In contrast, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) sales grew 4% in the fourth quarter, to $127 billion while Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT)’s sales were almost 7% higher, and neither had to rely upon pop stars to achieve the growth.
It’s true that every retailer has a stable of personalities it relies upon, though more often than not, they’re related to true fashion designers rather than the latest popular reality TV star. But Sears is making an art form out of trying any new shtick to see if it can reverse course and, by this point, you’d think it would realize it’s making some horrible choices.
At this point, I’d be willing to bet J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) has a better shot at making a viable comeback than does Sears. Perhaps it was done tongue-in-cheek, but a blog yesterday speculated about the chances of Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) buying out J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), though it concluded adding yet another wounded retailer to its mix of dying brands would probably not serve anyone’s interests.
From Christmas in July to being your quick cash-for-gold broker, financial gimmicks like total return swaps to calving off divisions like Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corp (NASDAQ:OSH) and Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc (NASDAQ:SHOS), the retailer has thrown a lot at the wall over the years to try and return value to shareholders, but hardly anything has worked.
Despite what it heralds as a new entertainment-driven fashion business, Sears isn’t singing any new tune that shoppers — or investors, for that matter — are likely to want to hear.
The article Sears Is Out of Fashion originally appeared on Fool.com.
Fool contributor Rich Duprey has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.
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