Sears makes early Black Friday members only

Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) is putting a new twist on early Black Friday shopping and opening stores for a private shopping event just for its Shop Your Way loyalty club members.

The retailer will hold a private night for members in all stores on Sunday, Nov. 22, from 6 to 9 p.m. It's an invitation-only event. Members will be notified by text message or email, although invitations can be requested by texting the word "EXCLUSIVE" to 73277 to receive an invitation.

"We wanted to do something extra special for our best members this year," said Joelle Maher, president and chief member officer for Sears. "Inviting them to shop four days before the rush of Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday and giving them access to a huge number of deals and savings—more than 1,000 doorbusters—is about as big as it gets in retail."

The event will also be available at Sears' website from 3 p.m. Nov. 22 to midnight on Nov. 23.

Sears will also open stores at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving day for a more traditional early Black Friday event.

The department store chain has been banking on its Shop Your Way membership program, with sales to members representing a vast majority of total sales for the retailer. Sears loyalty members accounted for 74 percent of sales for the second quarter of this fiscal year. The strategy is to grow the program and glean sales from Sears' best customers.

But even as the Shop Your Way program grows, Sears Holdings is struggling to grow sales. The retailer posted its first profit in three years for the recently completed third quarter, but revenue slipped 23 percent. 

For more:
-See this Sears press release

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