Retail

Sears wanted its new logo to make people think of home and heart, instead some are thinking about Airbnb

Key Points
  • Sears unveils a new logo, marking its latest attempt to freshen its image and reconnect with consumers.
  • The new emblem is designed to represent a combination of a home and a heart.
  • People take to social media to mock the new design's stark resemblance to Airbnb's logo.
Source: Sears

Sears unveiled a new logo, marking its latest attempt to freshen its image and reconnect with consumers.

The company said the new design hopes to represent a combination of a home and a heart. Its reveal comes shortly after the release of Sears' new slogan, "making moments matter," which the company rolled out in a video on Facebook in late April.

Sears' new logo received mixed reactions on social media. While some applauded Sears' effort to rebrand as "refreshing," "bright," and "bold," others mocked the design's stark resemblance to online home rental service Airbnb's logo.

"Why do I keep thinking AIR BNB when I see the new logo?" a user asked on Facebook. "Air B&B called – said they want their logo back," wrote another.

Some people also expressed confusion over what the emblem stood for.

"No idea what the new logo is supposed to be. Please tell us," wrote one user on Facebook. Another wrote, "If I saw that logo from the highway, I'd guess it was either a filling station or a soft ice cream store."

Sears declined to comment to CNBC, but addressed the public backlash in a comment to users on its Facebook page. News of the new logo and the backlash was first reported by Business Insider.

"The new icon was created to represent both home and heart, this shape also conveys motion through an infinity loop, reminiscent of one getting their arms around both home and life. The rings, like those of a tree trunk, show longevity. With home and heart at the center, the rings radiate and grow to encompass our broad assortment of products and services," Sears said, in a comment last week .

Others took the reveal as an opportunity to jab at the company's string of financial struggles.

"A new logo is not going to save Sears," one Facebook user wrote.

The move is the latest step in the company's larger effort to revive its business after years of slumping sales. In October 2018, the company filed for bankruptcy. In February, a judge approved its purchase by a hedge fund operated by Eddie Lampert, the company's chairman and former CEO, for $5.2 billion. Lampert said the deal would help save 425 Sears and Kmart stores and roughly 45,000 jobs.

Rolling out a new logo can be an expensive proposition, depending on the extent of the changes, as signage and labeling are changed, said Jim Cusson, president of Theory House, a retail marketing agency.

"Sears has a wealth of challenges facing them. And, I hate to use the expression 'putting lipstick on a pig,' but I think there were more critical issues to address than putting a new face on the store," Cusson said. 

The company also recently has announced that it would be opening several smaller stores called Sears Home + Life, which will sell home appliances, mattresses and other hard goods. A typical Sears store averages about 150,000 square feet and sells a wider range of items including apparel, home furnishings and electronics.

Sears has replaced its old logo on its social media pages, but it is unclear how quickly the company will be able to roll out changes at its department stores.

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Key Points
  • Sears accuses its former CEO Eddie Lampert of stealing billions of dollars from the once-storied retailer.
  • Sears Holdings filed for bankruptcy in October, after years of losses under Lampert, who was then its chairman, CEO and largest shareholder.
  • "Altogether, Lampert caused more than $2 billion of assets to be transferred to himself and Sears' other shareholders and beyond the reach of Sears' creditors," the lawsuit alleges.