Sear Roebucks SWOT Analysis

Table of Content


Richard Sears, an agent of the Minneapolis and St. Louis railway station, sold lumber and coal to local residents in his spare time. He later obtained a shipment of unwanted watches which he chose to sell at a profitable price to other station agents along the railway line. This endeavor resulted in the creation of the R.W. Sears Watch Company in 1886. The next year, Sears moved the business to Chicago and placed an advertisement for a Watchman in a local newspaper. This ad attracted Alvah C. Roebuck, marking the start of their partnership.

The formation of Sears, Roebuck and Co. in 1893 was a response to the frustration felt by farmers due to the high prices charged by middlemen for goods. Just a few years earlier, a wholesale barrel of flour cost $3.47, but its retail price soared to approximately $7.00. This significant difference in prices resulted in dissatisfaction among farmers and prompted them to search for a solution. Sears Roebuck and Co., through volume buying, became that sought-after solution by providing a more affordable alternative. They proudly adopted the motto “Shop at Sears and save,” which deeply resonated with the farming community, ultimately contributing to the prosperous growth and expansion of Sears.

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Under the leadership of Sears, the company sold a wide range of products including millinery, wagons, fishing tackle, stoves, furniture, china, musical instruments, saddles, firearms, buggies, bicycles, baby carriages, and glassware. They also sold watches and jewelry. In 1893, sales exceeded $400,000 and two years later the company was reorganized to handle orders more efficiently. Julius Rosenwald, a clothing manufacturer from Chicago, bought into the company and became vice president as a result of the reorganization.

Throughout Chicago, Sears and Roebuck and Co. leased various locations. Additionally, construction commenced on a $5 million mail order plant and office building on the Chicago West Side, which was completed in 1906. This building was then considered the largest business building worldwide at that time. In 1906, an office was also established in Dallas, Texas, and five years later, a mail order plant was initiated there. Thanks to lower freight rates and faster delivery, Sears and Roebuck capitalized on selling both common and preferred stock on the open market. Furthermore, for a limited period, Sears sold pre-built homes and motor buggies.

Sears did not open its first retail stores in 1925. The Christmas Catalogue was printed in 1933. In 1953, Sears launched its own credit card. In 1973, Sears moved into the Sears Tower, the tallest building in the world. The slogan for the company at this time was “Where America Shops”. In 1995, Sears started accepting Visa, MasterCard, and American Express credit cards. Sears moved its headquarters to Hoffman Estates, Ill. In 1993, the “Big Book” catalogue was discontinued. Sears began their online presence with more than 5,000 Craftsman tools available online in 1997. The “Good life at a great price, guaranteed” ad campaign debuted in 1998.

In 1998, Sears Direct was launched, combining specialty catalogs, telemarketing, direct mail, and the internet into one customer-responsive function. A year later, Sears launched At the beginning of the century, Sears initiated the Customer Care Network, which provides customers with a single point of contact. Sears also acquired Lands’ End, the largest specialty apparel catalog company and seller of apparel on the internet in the U.S. In March of 2005, Kmart and Sears merged to form Sears Holdings.

Mission Statement:
– treat everyone fairly and value diversity
– be accountable for our actions
– win as a team

Sears Organizational Strengths:
– The principle of decentralized retail administration, as quoted by Robert E. Wood, is the cornerstone of our organization (Worthy 1984: 119–120).
– Sears owns various well-known brand goods, including Craftsman, Lands’ End, and Kenmore. They also have merchandise that carries their own brands, such as the Lands’ End Oxford Express brand of shirts (Halligan, 2002).
– Sears has built an extensive customer database (Prentice-Hall, 2003), which is a result of our key success factor—superior customer service.


Sears has experienced a decline in their reputation and sales volume due to excessive diversification throughout the company, which led to a shift away from retail (Hall, 2003). Additionally, many of their retail stores are in disrepair and do not meet the demands of modern consumers (Prentice-Hall, 2003). Furthermore, Sears faces higher operating expenses compared to their competitors (Prentice-Hall, 2003).


The bargaining power of buyers can differ based on the product. For instance, apparel and small home products are usually more price sensitive, while automotive products may have higher switching costs resulting in higher prices. Nevertheless, Sears has a strong position of bargaining power because of its longstanding relationships with suppliers. These relationships have enabled Sears to increase their buying volume over time, leading to lower prices overall.

Sears has increased its leverage with suppliers through the wide range of products it offers, although this influence may vary depending on the supplier. Nevertheless, Sears has built enduring partnerships with its suppliers, allowing for negotiation of lower supply costs. Moreover, the retail sector is highly competitive and includes prominent companies such as Wal-Mart and Target, along with traditional physical stores (Prentice-Hall, 2003).

Other stores, like Liz Claiborne, are constantly competing with departments like women’s apparel at Sears by offering quality clothing and sales (Prentice-Hall, 2003). This increasing competition is resulting in more discount stores opening and driving sales lower in certain departments at Sears, including all apparel departments (Prentice-Hall, 2003).


  1. http://manonamission. blogspot. com/
  2. www. searsarchives. com
  3. www. searsholdings. com

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Sear Roebucks SWOT Analysis. (2018, Feb 18). Retrieved from

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