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article imageSears stores offer curbside pickup/returns to online shoppers

By Nathan Salant     Sep 18, 2014 in Business
Hoffman Estates - Online shoppers picking up or returning items to brick-and-mortar Sears stores nationwide can take care of business without leaving their cars.
Sears announced the expanded curbside service on Tuesday and pledged to take care of customers who park in designated parking spots at its stores within five minutes, according to Money Magazine.
"Buying what you really want should be easy – that's why we continue to make it more convenient to pick-up, return and exchange items that you have purchased right from your car," said Leena Munjal, a senior vice president of the retail chain's parent company, Sears Holding, in a prepared statement.
"We're all living busy, on-the-go lives, and this latest expansion to Sears integrated retail conveniences means that you can spend less time making a return or exchange and more time shopping," Munjal said.
The new service is Sears' latest effort to recover from years of slumping sales exacerbated by the exponential growth of online shopping.
Sears Holding reported a $573 million loss in the second quarter, and reportedly borrowed $400 million from its CEO Eddie Lampert's hedge fund.
But Sears is fighting back with the same technology, and introduced a new smartphone shopping application, "Shop Your Way," earlier this year.
In fact, the new curbside services seem to work best with the Shop Your Way ap, since customers can notify Sears that they're coming to pick up or return items, and stores will notify customers by email when the new items are ready, the magazine said.
Sears had already offered curbside pickup like many retailers but Tuesday's announcement makes it the first major retailer to add returns and exchanges to its parking lot offerings, the magazine said.
But it's easy to see why Sears sees expanding services offered through its online application as an area of potential growth.
Shop Your Way accounted for more than 70 percent of Sears' transactions last quarter, Money said.
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