With Target Canada announcing it was leaving the country, the Canadian retail landscape enters a new period of significant change. Sears Canada reacted to this news by reaching out to the employees of Target that will soon be laid off, offering them discounts and opportunities for jobs — and they scored a reputational win in the process. StrategyCorp’s Shawna Rossi talked about the smart PR move and continued the conversation with Marketing Magazine:
Just days after Target announced it was pulling out of Canada, Sears Canada issued a press release inviting Target employees to apply for jobs online and offering them a store discount. It was a savvy PR move that garnered national media coverage, and could help the struggling retailer rebuild its reputation, according to PR experts.
Until this week, Sears had been in the news mainly for its own layoffs and store closures. The struggling retailer posted a $118.7 million net loss in the latest quarter and said same-store sales fell 9.5%.
“The news about Sears hasn’t been very positive as of late. They’ve had their own troubles — not quite as serious at Target — but certainly in the same vein in terms of the negative stories about their business performance, layoffs and turnover in senior management,” said Shawna Rossi, senior consultant at StrategyCorp.
With Sears’ goodwill gesture, “suddenly [the company] was being seen in a positive light and the story became about job opportunity instead of job loss.”
Rossi said aside from being a smart PR move, it was also a smart business move. “From [Sears’] perspective, it was a great chance to suddenly tap into this pool of highly trained retail sales people,” she said.