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Sears revives its classic Wish Book

Posted at 1:14 PM, Oct 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-25 16:14:46-04

Sears hopes a dose of nostalgia will bring joy to its holiday season.

The struggling retailer is bringing back the Wish Book, its iconic holiday catalog featuring holiday decor, toys, games, appliances and apparel, according to the company.

Sears is betting on the nostalgia factor of the catalog, which first published in 1933, to get consumers back into their brick and mortar locations and shopping online for products this holiday season. The catalog hasn't been published since 2011.

A digital version of the Wish Book is interactive and accessible to the public, but the glossy limited edition copy will only be available to Sears' "best customers," the company said.

The new Wish Book is also slimmer, coming in at 120 pages. Some of the book's earlier predecessors were hundreds of pages long.

Sears' catalogs helped define it as an American retail giant in the early 20th century, when buying mail order was in vogue.

But the rise of e-commerce has not been kind to Sears.

In the past ten years, it has closed nearly 60% of its U.S. stores. Sales have fallen sharply as the retailer cuts costs and sells assets, such as its Craftsman brand, to try to stay afloat. Its stock has fallen nearly 50% year to date.

Sears Canada, which spun off from Sears Holdings in 2012, recently filed for bankruptcy and announced it was closing all of its stores.

The department store has -- more ominously -- admitted to having existential concerns about its ability to survive in the modern retail landscape.

Sears said the 2017 Wish Book will feature a huge range of products. "From drains to drills to dresses...from tools to TVs to tablets, we've got your back," the company said.

Sears ended its 100 year relationship with Whirlpool on Tuesday. The retailer did not immediately return request for comment on whether Whirlpool appliances would be featured in the catalog.