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Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Sears was founded by Richard Sears in the 1880's. He originally worked for the railways but after receiving a shipment of watches he branched out into selling. A year later he put an advert in a local newspaper looking for a watchmaker. Alvah Roebuck answered it, starting an association that would see the formation and expansion of the largest retailer in North America.


By 1888 they had produced their first catalogue selling watches and jewellery. However, just 6 years later they were producing a 322 page catalogue selling shoes, womens garments and many other items as well the watches and jewellery.


Sears opened their first retail store in Chicago in 1925 and by 1933 they had grown to 400 stores. In 1943 they opened their first store overseas in Havana, Cuba, followed 10 years later by their joining with a Canadian merchandising company Simpsons Limited.


  • 1886 - Richard Sears founded R.W Sears Watch Co. in Minneapolis
  • 1887 - Begins association with Alvah Roebuck
  • 1888 - First watches & jewellery catalogue
  • 1893 - Launch of Sears, Roebuck & Co.
  • 1894 - First general catalogue
  • 1925 - Opening of first retail store
  • 1953 - Sears expands company into Canada
  • 1973 - Opening of Sears Tower, the then tallest building in the world
  • 2004 - Merger with Kmart
  • 2002 - Sears buys Lands' End for $1.9billion