Sears Through the Years

Bloomberg Businessweek (Asia) - - COMPANIES/INDUSTRIES -

1886 Rail­way sta­tion agent Richard Sears be­gins sell­ing watches to other sta­tion agents in Min­neapo­lis.

1887 Watch­maker Al­vah Roe­buck joins the young Sears, and they start sell­ing goods by mail.

1893 Sears, Roe­buck founded.

1896 Dis­trib­utes its first large gen­eral cat­a­log

fea­tur­ing a wide ar­ray of items, from women’s gar­ments to wag­ons.

1913 Launches the Ken­more brand of ap­pli­ances.

1925 Opens its first re­tail store, in a Chicago mail-or­der plant.

1927 Launches the Crafts­man tool brand.

1931 Re­tail sales ex­ceed those of mail or­ders for the first time. Launches All­state In­sur­ance, sell­ing by mail only. Two years later, opens All­state sales offices in­side Sears re­tail stores. 1945 Sears an­nual sales ex­ceed $1b. 1953 Sears ex­pands to Canada. 1973 The 110-story Sears Tower opens in Chicago as the world’s tallest build­ing. 1981 Buys Dean Wit­ter Reynolds Or­ga­ni­za­tion in a big ex­pan­sion into

fi­nan­cial ser­vices. Buys Cold­well Banker real estate bro­ker­age.

1985 Launches the Dis­cover Card.

1993 Closes its un­prof­itable gen­eral cat­a­log busi­ness. Launches an IPO of 20 per­cent of Dean Wit­ter; gives re­main­der to share­hold­ers, in what is then the sec­ond-largest stock div­i­dend in U.S. his­tory. Also sells 20% of All­state; it’s the largest IPO in U.S. his­tory. 1995 Dis­trib­utes rest of All­state to share­hold­ers. Sells Cold­well Banker. 1997 Sells its ma­jor­ity in­ter­est in Sears, Roe­buck de Mex­ico. 2002 Buys for­mer sail­ing gear re­tailer Lands’ End. 2003 Sells re­tail credit card busi­ness to Citibank. 2005 Hedge fund man­ager Ed­ward Lam­pert, Sears’s

largest share­holder, merges it with Kmart. Sears Hold­ings starts sell­ing DieHard bat­ter­ies and ac­cept­ing Sears cards at Kmart.

2006 Be­gins sell­ing Crafts­man tools at Kmart.

2012 Spins off out­let and neigh­bor­hood stores.

2014 Spins off Lands’ End. 2016 Con­sid­ers putting Crafts­man, Ken­more, and DieHard brands on the block.

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