January 17, 2009

Sears Testing Online Drive-thru Concept

Sears Holdings Corp., experimenting with ways to bring the U.S. retailer back to life, says it will unveil a warehouse concept featuring a drive-through window.

The concept store, to be called MyGofer, will be opened in Joliet, Ill., this summer will seek to attract shoppers by allowing consumers to order products online and then pick them up in the store or at a drive-through portal, the Chicago Tribune reported Saturday.

Sears owner Edward Lampert has been experimenting with new concepts to spur growth for the venerable retailer without investing heavily in any of them, but the newspaper said the Internet has captured Lampert's attention and investment dollars. Sears also has extended layaway purchasing after its success during the holiday season.

Sears officials wouldn't comment to the newspaper about MyGofer, but during a presentation to the Joliet City Council in December, they described the test store as a marriage between online shopping and bricks and mortar.

City officials say Sears plans to close an existing 85,000-square-foot Kmart in Joliet and begin work in March to turn it into the concept store, with about 80 percent of it to be devoted to storing merchandise while the remaining 20 percent will house a catalog showroom.