Sears to offer lease-purchase program

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 160 views 

In an effort to better compete with big box retailers on large ticket items such as electronics and household appliances, Sears will offer a lease-purchase option for the credit challenged.

The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based retailer confirmed today (May 10) that it will roll out its WhyNotLeaseIt program this next week. The retailer is following the lead of Ashley Furniture who has already partnered to use the services of New Hampshire-based WhyNotLeaseIt.

“Customers can walk into any Sears’ full-line store in the country this month and choose lease-to-own as an option,” said Jai Holtz, vice president, financial services, Sears Holdings. “The program gives a much-needed financial solution to those unable to purchase on credit, secure credit, or because of immediate need, can’t use layaway.”

Sears is the first retailer to offer national lease-to-own options for Craftsman products, electronics, furniture and mattresses.

“Every lease is backed by Sears’ quality and customers have access to the full breadth of Sears’ warranties and in-home services,” Holtz noted.

Sears tested the program  in two dozen stores last fall in Houston, Texas, and throughout Flordia. The retailer said the program resonated well with customers during the six months of testing.

The program details include a minimum monthly income of $1,000 and the merchandise must cost at least $280, according the release. Consumers can pay weekly or bi-weekly for a period of up 18 months, and must have a social security number to participate.

Sears did not disclose the fees associated with the new lease option at this time, nor did WhyNotLeaseIt.

In other news Friday, Sears Holdings announced Jeff Balagna has accepted the role of chief information offer and executive vice president.  He most recently held a similar position at Eli Lilly.
Balangna will be responsible for all technology and infrastructure initiatives for the retailer’s support centers and in-store.

"Jeff is a proven executive with an analytical approach and experience in transforming complex organizations in rapidly evolving industries," said Edward S. Lampert, Sears Holdings' CEO and chairman. "Innovation and technology are cornerstones in Sears Holdings' efforts to build lasting relationships with our Shop Your Way members, and Jeff's deep expertise in information technology infrastructure, customer loyalty programs and leveraging IT as a business-enabler make him a strong addition to our team."