Sears offers free holiday season online shipping
Sears is offering free online shipping through most of the holiday season as the retailer looks to boost e-commerce sales.
The promotion will run from Oct. 30 through Dec. 19. For Sears.com, customers must spend more than $99 on eligible items, while Kmart.com and mygofer.com customers must spend more than $49 on eligible items. The company said it will also offer free same-day store pick up to complement the service.
“We are always looking for ways to help our customers, especially during the busy holiday season,” said e-commerce president Imran Jooma.
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Last year, the company offered free shipping at Kmart.com through the holiday season on all but its largest items.
Other retailers are looking to get an edge in what is sure to be a competitive holiday season. On Monday, Wal-Mart unveiled a new holiday price-matching service, guaranteeing to cover the extra cost of items bought in its stores that customers find for less somewhere else.
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Meanwhile, holiday shoppers are expected to remain fickle. Accenture reported this month that 88 percent of U.S. consumers plan to spend the same or less than last year during the holidays.
Sears has seen its revenue decline in recent quarters as consumers spend less on appliances, tools and electronics amid a weak housing market and high unemployment. Domestic same-store sales have also fallen as its namesake department stores and the Kmart discount chain loses market share to rivals.
In August, the company reported its fiscal second-quarter loss widened more than expected as weak sales, poor customer traffic and greater discounting weighed on the bottom line. Online sales rose 32 percent.
Edited by Kevin Scarpati
Biden establishes Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force
The US government is to establish a new body with the express purpose of addressing imbalances and other supply chain concerns highlighted in a review of the sector, ordered by President Joe Biden shortly after his inauguration.
The Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force will “focus on areas where a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident,” the White House said. The division will be headed up by the Secretaries of Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture, and will focus on housing construction, transportation, agriculture and food, and semiconductors - a drastic shortage of which has hit some of the US economy’s biggest industries in consumer technology and vehicle manufacturing.
“The Task Force will bring the full capacity of the federal government to address near-term supply/demand mismatches. It will convene stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions - large and small, public or private - that could help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints,” the White House said.
In late February, President Biden ordered a 100 day review of the supply chain across the key areas of medicine, raw materials and agriculture, the findings of which were released this week. While the COVID-19 health crisis had a deleterious effect on the nation’s supply chain, the published assessment of findings says the root cause runs much deeper. The review concludes that “decades of underinvestment”, alongside public policy choices that favour quarterly results and short-term solutions, have left the system “fragile”.
In response, the administration aims to address four key issues head on, strengthening its position in health and medicine, sustainable and alternative energy, critical mineral mining and processing, and computer chips.
Support domestic production of critical medicines
- A syndicate of public and private entities will jointly work towards manufacturing and onshoring of essential medical suppliers, beginning with a list of 50-100 “critical drugs” defined by the Food and Drug Administration.
- The consortium will be led by the Department of Health and Human Services, which will commit an initial $60m towards the development of a “novel platform technologies to increase domestic manufacturing capacity for API”.
- The aim is to increase domestic production and reduce the reliance upon global supply chains, particularly with regards to medications in short supply.
Secure an end-to-end domestic supply chain for advanced batteries
- The Department of Energy will publish a ‘National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries’, beginning a 10 year plan to "develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain that combats the climate crisis by creating good-paying clean energy jobs across America”.
- The effort will leverage billions in funding “to finance key strategic areas of development and fill deficits in the domestic supply chain capacity”.
Invest in sustainable domestic and international production and processing of critical minerals
- An interdepartmental group will be established by the Department of Interior to identify sites where critical minerals can be produced and processed within US borders. It will collaborate with businesses, states, tribal nations and stockholders to “expand sustainable, responsible critical minerals production and processing in the United States”.
- The group will also identify where regulations may need to be updated to ensure new mining and processing “meets strong standards”.
Partner with industry, allies, and partners to address semiconductor shortages
- The Department of Commerce will increase its partnership with industry to support further investment in R&D and production of semiconductor chips. The White House says its aim will be to “facilitate information flow between semiconductor producers and suppliers and end-users”, improving transparency and data sharing.
- Enhanced relationships with foreign allies, including Japan and South Korea will also be strengthened with the express proposed of increasing chip output, promoting further investment in the sector and “to promote fair semiconductor chip allocations”.