It was not too long ago that the overwhelmingly favorite destination for major appliances by consumers was Sears.
Over the past decade, however, that institution, an icon of American retailing, has watched the destination gap shrink between itself and its ever-growing home center competitors, especially Lowe’s and Home Depot.
Although Sears continues to garner the lion’s share of consumer purchases of major appliances, latest data indicate that unless shoppers’ behavior changes drastically, the gap will all but disappear. In 2007, according to estimates developed by HFN, the department store commanded nearly $6.5 billion in sales of the commodity, or just about equal to the amount taken in by Home Depot and Lowe’s together.
Measured by market share, Sears and the home centers each had around one-third of the share of refrigerators. That reflected a notable change from 2006, when Sears commanded 35 percent, and the centers had 27 percent.
Loss of market share by Sears was also pronounced in both laundry and cooking appliances.
In March, Sears announced a strategic move to expand its sales. It said it would place more appliances—which now account for about 15 percent of its revenues—in its Kmart stores, and would open more dealer stores selling the commodity later during the year. — Nathan Weber