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The Chicago Tribune reports that Sears Holdings is expanding its MyGofer online shopping portal to include groceries and prescriptions that will be provided by the company’s Kmart division. The test of the expanded service currently is taking place in Manhattan and the Hamptons on Long Island, and the company plans to roll it out to Chicago and other markets later this summer.

According to the story, “Sears Holdings Corp. launched MyGofer last year as a way to combine bricks-and-mortar retailing with Amazon-style online shopping. MyGofer.com allows shoppers to search tens of thousands of goods online, place orders from a computer or iPhone and pick them up at a Kmart store in as little as two hours — without getting out of their cars.” The delivery service is described by the company as a natural extension, prompted by a consumer base that increasingly wants immediate gratification.
KC's View:
As cynical as I have been about the chances that Sears and Kmart have for survival in a highly competitive environment, I suppose that there is at least a chance that this could work. I’m not sure many folks in the Hamptons will be interested in getting groceries delivered from Kmart (unless the truck making the delivery sports a faux Dean & DeLuca sign), but I’m not going to criticize the company for trying to be relevant for a 21st century consumer.

History, unfortunately, has not been kind to either company when it comes to this kind of stuff. For the life of me I cannot remember the name of it, but it seems to me that Sears was a partner in a television shopping network that featured groceries as long as two decades ago. (Unless memory is playing tricks on me, I remember shooting a story about it for the old “Retail Insights” video program, but those tapes and scripts have been long lost.) And Kmart actually was better at the superstore business than Walmart when both companies were testing the concept; Gene Hoffman, the former Supervalu and Kroger executive, was instrumental in helping the company make giant strides in the food business. But Walmart was both more persistent and better at long-term execution, and Kmart became a food also-ran while Kmart stumbled and lost its way.

Still, Sears and Kmart should go for it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.