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According to bloomberg, sears is courting bad risks by offering debt forgiveness, and the ability to keep the debt funded appliance, in the case of unemployment. Isn't this the implied non-recourse idealogy that spurred the subprime/alt-a lending crisis? Isn't sears simply inviting the worst risks in an attempt to pack revenue in the front end? Hey, maybe its just me, but this seems to be a tad bit risky and imprudent.

[quote]Sears Holdings Corp., the largest U.S. department-store chain, will let customers who lose their jobs suspend payments and keep appliances bought with store credit cards in an effort to bolster sales in the recession.

Customers who spend at least $399 on appliances and related merchandise between July 6 and Aug. 1 will have one-twelfth of the purchase price credited to their account for every month they are out of work, said Larry Costello, a company spokesman. Those who are jobless for more than a year will have the full debt forgiven, he said. The offer period may be extended, he said.

“We thought this would be a way to get folks to jump in where they’d been a little reluctant,” Doug Moore, president of Sears’s home-appliance unit, said in a telephone interview.

The retailer, based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, is running the trial program to spur spending on refrigerators and washing machines as consumers hold off on bigger purchases amid declining home values and mounting job losses.

Customers who lose their jobs between 60 days and one year after having made the purchase qualify for the offer, Costello said. The program also covers delivery, service and installation costs, he said.

Sears advanced 95 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $65.85 at 9:53 a.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The stock gained 67 percent this year before today.