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KIDS' SHOES STEP INTO SEARS KIDVANTAGE PROGRAM

 HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Sears "Kids & More" department today just added another "more" to its innovative "KidVantage" apparel program. All Sears children's shoes are now covered under the KidVantage wear-out warranty and frequent purchase program.
 Sears KidVantage program offers consumers a wear-out warranty on children's clothes and children's shoes purchased at Sears if the item wears out before the child outgrows it. Sears will replace the item with an identical one or an item of comparable value in the same size. The frequent purchase KidVantage card earns customers credit towards a 15 percent discount on future children's shoes and children's apparel purchases at Sears Kids & More.
 Since the program's launch in 1991, more than one million KidVantage cards have been redeemed in Sears Kids & More departments. Additionally, in 1992 Sears distributed more than 3.7 million KidVantage cards and brochures through national magazine advertising and to customers during mall tours.
 "The KidVantage program has been well-received by our customers since we launched it 18 months ago, but they're telling us we can improve it and we are," said Warren E. Flick, Sears group vice president, shoes, men's and children's apparel. "KidVantage has helped increase our market share and has strengthened our apparel presence.
 "Research conducted in October 1992 shows awareness of KidVantage among mothers of children under 12 years old has almost doubled since 1991, increasing from 23 percent to 40 percent. The research also concluded that 80 percent of the respondents questioned wanted children's shoes to be covered by the program," said Flick.
 All children's footwear -- infant, toddler, girls, and boys -- will now be covered under the KidVantage program. This includes dress, casual and athletic shoes, as well as slippers and boots. The wear-out warranty and frequent purchase program covers all national brands of children's shoes including Reebok, LA Gear, Converse, Keds, Cherokee, and British Knights.
 HOW THE NEW' KIDVANTAGE PROGRAM WORKS
 Wear-out Warranty
 The KidVantage program contains a wear-out warranty on all children's apparel and shoes purchased at Sears. If any children's clothing and/or children's shoes wears out while the child wears the same size, the customer can return the merchandise and Sears will replace it with the identical item in the same size or a similar item of equal value in the same size. This includes all kid's apparel and shoes, both Sears private label brands and national brands. The customer needs to bring the merchandise to the store for replacement. "The customer ultimately decides what is meant by worn out,'" said Flick.
 Frequent Purchase Program
 Customers are issued a KidVantage card at the children's apparel and children's shoe departments. (Purchase is not required.) They present their card when making a purchase in either department. The amount of their purchase -- whether it's for regular, sale or clearance items -- is punched on their card (amounts are rounded off to the nearest dollar). After the customer accumulates $100 in purchases, they earn 15 percent off their next purchase of children's apparel or shoes. This discount is available on all kids' apparel and shoes in Sears retail stores in the United States and does not apply to catalog merchandise and Sears outlet merchandise.
 Flick also said that Sears is making some additional modifications to KidVantage that will streamline the program based on 18 months of tests and consumer research since the program's initial launch. The program will now offer one level of frequent purchase redemption -- a 15 percent discount following $100 of purchases. The discount no longer applies to infant furniture and accessories, electronics and other toys. "Our customers voted with their pocketbooks and their suggestions. Based on their level and variety of purchases, customers were more interested in the 15 percent discount option and want KidVantage to be primarily an apparel and footwear program. Streamlining the program enables us to keep costs down and continue to pass the savings on to our customers," Flick said.
 Sears will advertise the new program in SearsCharge inserts, newspapers and parenting, women's service and pre-natal magazines. The list of magazines includes Baby Talk, Sesame Street Magazine, Family Fun, Parenting, Parents, Child, Family Circle, McCalls, Woman's Day, Better Homes & Gardens, First for Women, Good Housekeeping, Ebony, American Baby, Childbirth, First Year of Life, Having a Baby, and Organized Pregnancy. The program will also be advertised in various Hispanic publications. Additionally, in-store signage will be predominantly displayed to notify customers about the addition of shoes to the KidVantage program, and KidVantage cards will be available at all service counters in the children's apparel and children's shoe departments.
 -0- 1/19/93
 /CONTACT: Marci Grossman, manager-media relations of Sears Merchandise Group, 708-286-8316/
 (S)


CO: Sears, Roebuck & Co. ST: Illinois IN: REA SU:

TS -- NY024 -- 6184 01/19/93 09:44 EST
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Date:Jan 19, 1993
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