Sears launches “Sears Blue Blogger Crew”

by Deepak Sharma on Monday, January 03, 2011

Just in time for 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, Sears has launched a new social media initiative called the Sears Blue Blogger Crew. From the Sears blog.

What is the Sears Blue Blogger Crew?

The Sears Blue Blogger Crew is an opportunity for our peers (i.e. fellow gadget geeks) to share their knowledge and experience in the technology space with their readers and followers, as well as our customers. The Sears Blue Blogger Crew is a group of experts who will write about technology, trends and products that we carry here in the Sears Consumer Electronics Department! (NOTE/DISCLOSURE: For CES, Sears Electronics is covering travel costs + expenses for the bloggers in attendance, as well as providing each a small video camera.)

Currently the crew consists of five bloggers, Jenna Hatfield, lead blogger at Stop, Drop and Blog; Kris Cain, lead blogger for LittleTechGirl, Andru Edwards, CEO of Gear Live Media and lead blogger for Gear Live, Kelly Clay, a veteran blogger, works for Lockergnome, Barbara Rozgonyi, founder of the Chicago chapter of the Social Media Club, blogs at WiredPRWorks.

Great initiative as long as these bloggers remain neutral and not become the PR for Sears.

A Tale of Two Retailers

by Deepak Sharma

And these two retailers are, Barnes & Noble and Borders. Barnes & Noble today reported strong holiday results led by some good sales of its Nook e-readers. Same-store sales, rose 9.7 percent for the nine-week period ended on January 1. A large part of this increase has come because of the popularity and sales of Nook which is in direct competition with's Kindle e-reader.

Barnes & Noble says Nook boosts holiday sales

Barnes & Noble Inc reported strong preliminary holiday results at its superstores, led by the popularity of its Nook e-readers, and shares rose more than 5 percent.

The top U.S. bookseller said that same-store sales, or sales at its superstores open at least 15 months, rose 9.7 percent for the nine-week period ended on January 1.

Barnes & Noble, which put itself up for sale in August, introduced the Nook in 2009 in a bid to compete with's market-leading Kindle e-reader as it seeks to prove itself viable amid bookbuyers' shift to digital formats.

In the fall, the retailer introduced a well-reviewed, enhanced version of the device, NookColor, which has some functions similar to those of Apple's iPad tablet.

Barnes & Noble in November had forecast same-store sales for the entire current quarter, including the holiday period, would rise between 5 and 7 percent.

Barnes & Noble's numbers include Nook devices sold in stores but not on its website. Last week, Barnes & Noble, which operates 717 namesake stores in the United States, said the Nook had become its best selling single item ever. The retailer said it would release more detailed sales figures on Thursday.

Now compare this with Borders, which is the second largest US bookstore chain after Barnes and Noble. Borders is reporting that it is delaying payments to some publishers trying to avert a liquidity crisis.

Borders Delays Payments to Publishers

In an ominous turn of events for the book business, Borders Group Inc. said Thursday it is delaying payments to some publishers, a sign that its financial troubles are worsening.

The nation's second-largest bookstore chain by revenue, behind Barnes & Noble Inc., said the delays were part of its efforts to refinance its debt and that it had notified the publishers with which it is seeking to restructure payments.

The retailer also said "there can be no assurance" that its larger refinancing efforts will be successful.

Sign of the times, I say. With competition from Kindle and the ebooks, B&N was able to remold themselves as a Digital company with Nook, Borders did not and results are there to be seen. There is more competition coming from Google and that will put even more pressure on Borders to rethink its strategy.