The luxury items will not be sold in the company's bricks-and-mortar stores at any point, Hanover says, declining to reveal sales figures for the more expensive items or comment on how well they are selling. He was more forthcoming on whether Sears is trying to challenge Amazon and eBay with its ever-expanding online offerings:
"We are. When it comes to having a comprehensive marketplace, we're focused on becoming world's greatest integrated retailer," Hanover says.
Whether the strategy will pay off remains to be seen, analysts say, as adding luxury items to the Sears Marketplace may simply leave consumers befuddled.
"The consumer is confused by Sears and what it is selling and representing," says Matthew Feltner, managing partner of Strategic Sales, a consulting firm specializing in business strategy and sales strategy. "Sears is trying to gain more market share with the high-end products, but their strategies are all over the board. Sears keeps changing its tactics and strategies every two to three years, which leaves the consumer confused. I think this strategy will be another short-lived tactic, which will damper brand loyalty. Sears for years now has struggled with brand loyalty and consumer satisfaction, which explains their different directions."
With 97% of Sears' revenue coming from its bricks-and-mortar stores, Feltner says the retailer would do better to focus on improving that part of its operations. As for taking on giants such as Amazon and eBay, that too may be a tough fight.