Sears starts selling vacations

The retailer's site, which launches Wednesday, even lets you put your trip on layaway.

By Kim Peterson Jun 19, 2012 3:43PM
Image: Couple Entering a Hotel Room © Fuse/Getty ImagesSears Holdings (SHLD) has quietly been moving into the online space, and this week adds another piece to that puzzle with a new vacations site that lets customers put their trip on layaway.

The new site,, kicks off Wednesday by offering 100 vacations for less than $399. Some of those vacations include three-day cruises to the Bahamas on Carnival Cruise Lines, a three-night stay in Honolulu or a two-night stay at a Napa Valley spa.

Customers will be able to reserve a vacation and pay the cost gradually, or buy a pre-paid vacation package that can be financed with payment installments, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Sears has been on a technology kick as its traditional retail store sales have lagged. In April, it started selling data-crunching services to other companies under the MetaScale name. The service searches for patterns in customer purchases and other sources to get more information about shoppers. Sears used its own service to discover that its customers who buy jewelry also have a tendency to buy tools, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Sears shares were up nearly 5% Tuesday afternoon to $54.14.

Two experts discuss where Sears is headed in the following video.

Post continues below.
In entering the online travel space, Sears will compete directly with sites like Expedia (EXPE), which now books one out of every 20 hotel-room nights in the U.S., reports The Seattle Times. Expedia gets one out of every 10 rooms in New York and Las Vegas.

But while Expedia and other sites focus on booking hotel rooms, SearsVacations seems to be targeting customers seeking a broader vacation package. For example, it sells a New Orleans hotel stay plus a cooking class and lunch for $349. It sells one night at a San Diego hotel plus breakfast and two tickets to a San Diego Padres game for $199.

The site has some similarities to Costco's (COST) travel site, which also emphasizes package deals. Tuesday, Costco offered a four-night stay at a Dominican Republic all-inclusive resort for $349 a person.

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Tags: SHLD
Jun 19, 2012 5:00PM
Alright now!  Sears and K-Mart can now screw up your vacation like they do everything else.
Jun 19, 2012 5:14PM
Sears can be just as competetive as the other big box companies, they just have some things that need tweaking that's all!!!!! I think it's a great idea to be able to set up paymentplans on a vacation and I'm going to give it a shot!!!!! Great idea Sears Holdings Inc.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jun 19, 2012 6:10PM
Sears should turn their stores into motels for the homeless.
Jun 20, 2012 9:03AM
This is not a new concept. Booking your vacation with a store front travel agency allows you to deposit and make payments too. Always has. Is Sears (online agency) going to give you the personal consultation and service that a travel agent will? If you are a Do it yourself person maybe this is for you. I will not be making my vacation plans with Sears. Sears cannot even get the department store thing right.
Jun 19, 2012 7:40PM

Sears they need to hire staff and clean there stores, The condition of sears and kmart make me Belive

i wil be staying in a roadway inn . Sears needs to Value customer service before they expand, nothing will work for this brand till they view the customer as # 1

Jun 19, 2012 6:15PM
The only thing I'd buy from sears is Craftsman tools (lifetime replacement warranty). A vacation??? Forget it.
Jun 19, 2012 7:20PM
sounds like a good idea, only issue is that a lot of travel agencies are doing it. good luck!
Jun 20, 2012 6:50PM
I am surprised that Sears is still in business.  They are overpriced for many items.  I would tend to think their vacation prices wil be overpriced as well.  I do agree that the Craftmans Lifetime tools is a good deal, but that is about all.
Jun 20, 2012 12:44PM
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